Dear Students,

I hope you’ve all had a great start to the fall semester. I know that this is a busy time for all, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know how excited I am to be starting my term as provost and to update you on some of the work going on in the Provost’s Office.

But first, what on earth does the provost actually do? Fundamentally, the provost is responsible for strategic planning and for allocating the resources of the college to advance our educational priorities. In practice, this means evaluating budget requests, taking part in discussions of current and proposed building projects, and generally making sure we’re making wise resource decisions in support of our mission. As an economist, this work is dear to my heart.

The provost is also responsible for eight critical functional areas of the college: the libraries, WCMA, the Science Center, OIT, the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, admission, financial aid, and institutional research. These are all complex operations, and they are run by a talented and dynamic set of directors. It would take pages to provide even a thumbnail description of the full portfolio of activities across all of these areas, but it’s worth highlighting some the most visible and important changes that are currently taking place in these areas.

This summer saw the completion of the online catalogue that provides a single point of access to all of our traditional and electronic holdings, as well as a new website for the libraries. Sawyer continues to be a center of academic life, and two large classrooms and additional study space were just completed as part of the renovation of Schow.

In the past year, the museum hosted more than 80 courses in the Rose Gallery, and it just opened a new Object Lab that will work with faculty to provide repeated access to works of art in a public gallery during a semester. The popular WALLS program, which lends art to students, is once again under way. And the museum and the art department are continuing work on the early stages of an exciting renovation and potential new-building project for the visual arts.

Science Center
The most visible (and audible) change in the Science Center is of course the groundbreaking for the new South Science Building. With a scheduled completion date of 2018, the new building will eventually house state-of-the-art research facilities, faculty offices, and student study spaces. The Science Center continues to serve as a vibrant intellectual hub of the college, despite the necessary inconvenience of construction.

Office of Information Technology
OIT has doubled the bandwidth on campus and started the second phase of a major network project that will result in a more modern system requiring less downtime. But the coolest changes, from my perspective, are the addition of a virtual reality room in the Center for Educational Technology and a new lightboard for capturing great videos for teaching.

Zilkha Center
The center has been at the heart of implementing the college’s sustainability goals and our efforts to address climate change. With the aim of reaching 100% renewable electricity around 2020, the center has been actively pursuing renewable energy installations, including more solar on campus, as well as a solar project on the town’s capped landfill. The Zilkha Center is a busy place right now, and I recommend taking a look at their website ( to see some of the great work they’re doing.

Admission and financial aid
As we all know, the Class of 2020 has just arrived on campus, and they are yet another incredibly accomplished, talented, and diverse group of students. Identifying and attracting classes like this takes resources, creativity, and energy. In terms of current news, the admission office is currently in the middle of its Window on Williams (WOW) program, and we have started searching for a Dean of Admission and Financial Aid who will be responsible for ensuring that the students that we enroll receive the same level of attention and support throughout their time at Williams that they experienced during their college search.

Institutional Research
Making informed decisions about resources and the curriculum requires careful institutional research. Institutional Research (IR) produces the facts and figures that we report externally, as well as the statistics that inform our internal decisions. In the coming months, IR will be an invaluable source of data and analysis for work on the curriculum and the ongoing accreditation process.

As you can tell, this is an active time in the Provost’s Office, and it has been fascinating for me to learn about the many initiatives under way across campus and how we in the Provost’s Office can support those activities to ensure their success. But more than that, we are committed to creating avenues for open communication between the Provost’s Office and the wider college community, including faculty, staff, and students. As part of that, we will be holding regular open forums on priorities, resources, and building projects, as well as on financial aid and admission. I would also encourage all of you to get in touch with me if you have concerns, questions, or simply want to talk over a cup of coffee. Finally, I will be holding open office hours during the following times (I’ll announce the times next semester in a couple of months):

• Oct 26, 11-12
• Nov 9, 10-11
• Nov 23, 11-12
• Dec 7, 1-2

You do not need an appointment for any of these times. Just stop by the Provost’s Office, individually or in groups, and we’ll talk.

Thank you all for reading. I wish you a wonderful year.


Dukes Love
Provost and Professor of Economics

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