Provost Lynch says Brandeis is in ‘great shape,’ prepares for her sabbatical leave

February 7, 2020

Provost Lisa Lynch is proud of the work that she’s done at Brandeis and feels that the university is in a good place for her to leave, she told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview.

“I feel tired and exhilarated at the same time. I made this decision—and it was not easy to step down at this stage—because I feel like the university is in great shape,” said Lynch. “We’ve got a strategic plan that’s going to inform a long-overdue capital campaign, I’ve brought in a great team of new deans, our Vice Provost of Student Affairs, our new athletic director. All the pieces are there.”

Lynch said that she is excited to “get a good night’s sleep” while she is on her sabbatical leave. She said that her plan is to be based primarily at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management and MIT’s Institute for Work and Employment Research, where she previously worked for eight years. She will also spend part of the year in Bonn, Germany at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics where she is a research affiliate and the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. She would also like to travel to London, England and Paris, France to meet with colleagues. Lynch said that she is looking forward to spending time with her husband, Professor Fabio Schiantarelli, who will go on sabbatical from his role as an economics professor at Boston College in January, according to Lynch.

University President Ron Liebowitz announced that Lynch would be stepping down from her roles as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs in an email sent to faculty, staff and students on Jan. 21

She said that it will be up to Dean David Weil at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management as to whether or not she has any administrative roles when she returns to Brandeis as a faculty member in the fall. She is also currently an affiliated faculty member in the economics department and is excited about the possibility of returning to teaching.

Liebowitz is currently working on the process of searching for a replacement, according to Lynch, and she said that she thinks that it is important that she is not involved in the process.

“[The new provost] has to be a person that the Board of Trustees and the President [Liebowitz] have full confidence in. It’s their choice—it’s not my choice—who the next provost is,” said Lynch. “I think it’s really important to provide an opportunity for the interim [provost] or provost to have an opportunity without having a shadow provost. As I’ve told everybody, anything I can do to be helpful, I’m there. I’m a phone call or email away.”

Lynch said that she is also looking forward to being on sabbatical during a presidential election year. She said that while she is unable to make a presidential endorsement as provost, her main concerns include growing income inequality in the country.
Lynch said that she is proud of the faculty and staff that she helped recruit, the student summer research opportunity that she established and the advancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Brandeis. She said, however, that she regrets that there isn’t a uniformly positive experience among all people on campus. The campus climate survey, which the university released on Nov. 15, described respondents’ experiences with rape, sexual assault, harassment and intervention in those situations and reporting.

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