Thank you, Provost Lynch

We, the editorial board of The Brandeis Hoot, would like to thank Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Lisa Lynch for her work in making Brandeis a positive learning environment for its students. As she steps down from her positions to take a sabbatical leave and pursue other endeavors, we would like to take note of Lynch’s many contributions to the university.

Lynch was one of 35 women honored by “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” as a top woman in higher education in 2019. The article describes Lynch as having strengthened financial support and increased “both graduate student enrollment and the total number of dual-degree programs offered at the university. She led the development of the school’s strategic plan, implementing an initiative to embed diversity, equity and inclusion in Heller’s academic and work environment.” As University President Ron Liebowitz wrote in a message to the Brandeis community on Tuesday, Jan. 21, Lynch has always acted in the university’s best interest, “introduc[ing] policies and structures to advance the university’s diversity efforts, and to support students and faculty from underrepresented groups.”

During Lynch’s time at Brandeis, she supervised staff, faculty and administration hiring in various university departments. Lynch also led the university’s successful decennial reaccreditation process and increased research funding opportunities for faculty, improving the university’s standing as a Research I university, according to Liebowitz’s email. In more recent years, Lynch “played a pivotal role in the work of the four task forces that have given shape and substance to the university’s ‘Framework for the Future,’” wrote Liebowitz.

Lynch also played a substantial role in helping increase diversity and amplify inclusion on campus, as she was serving as interim president during the events of Ford Hall in 2015. During this time, she developed an “implementation plan,” which she proposed as a way to realize the demands of students during the Ford Hall 2015 protest according to the Office of the President letter on Feb. 24, 2016. This letter included Lynch’s efforts to find a chief diversity officer, improve faculty and student recruitment/retention, install sensitivity training for faculty to increase accountability and generally increase representation and inclusion of underrepresented minorities on campus, all of which were requested in some way by the protestors. Lynch served as interim president between Fred Lawrence and Ron Liebowitz’s tenures, July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.

Reflecting on the agreement made between the administration and the student negotiators, Lynch said “the agreement was the result of an enormous amount of honest discussion about our mutual goals and how to make Brandeis an even more diverse and inclusive university. We all acknowledged that while much work has been done, actions will need to be sustained over time by all to accomplish real change.” The actions taken by students and facilitated by Lynch on the part of the administration during Ford Hall 2015 continue to push for diversity, equity and inclusion at Brandeis today and will remain in Brandeis history as an incredibly important moment of student activism.

While Lynch will be leaving her administrative role, we are happy to hear that she will be returning to campus as a professor at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management after her sabbatical.

Lynch has been a member of the Brandeis community since 2008 when she came to campus as the Dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, serving in that role until October 2014. Lynch’s involvement on the Brandeis campus goes beyond her role as an academic administrator; she is also a parent to a Brandeis alumna and the recipient of an honorary degree. She will continue to serve the Brandeis community once returning from her leave as the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy. Lynch is an active member of the community and is dedicated to its betterment; for that, we are thankful. 

Editor’s note: News editors Rachel Saal, Tim Dillon and Victoria Morrongiello did not contribute to the writing of this editorial.

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