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BOT resolution in appreciation of Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente

Jun. 29, 2020, 9:00 AM

Resolution

BY THE BOARD OF TRUST OF

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

in appreciation of

INTERIM CHANCELLOR AND PROVOST SUSAN R. WENTE

 

WHEREAS, Susan R. Wente, Ph.D., was appointed by the Board of Trust to lead the University as Interim Chancellor, effective August 16, 2019, following the resignation of Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos;

WHEREAS, Susan R. Wente retained her role as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs while assuming the role of Interim Chancellor, continuing her leadership role over ten vice chancellor divisions and all ten schools and colleges of the University;

WHEREAS, Susan R. Wente, in her role as Interim Chancellor, has overseen all facets of the University and worked to elevate Vanderbilt’s mission and uphold its values of discovery, inclusion, immersion and achievability;

WHEREAS, Susan R. Wente, during her term as Interim Chancellor, embraced numerous outreach opportunities that connected with approximately 30,000 campus constituents, including University faculty, students and staff and members of the Nashville community;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente had many years of distinguished service to the University before her appointment as Interim Chancellor, having joined the faculty of the School of Medicine’s Department of Cell and Developmental Biology as professor and chair in 2002;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has applied her unique qualifications to serve the University in multiple key roles in research, administration and leadership, achieving almost 18 years of service as a higher education administrator, with six years as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, more than seven years as a department chair in the School of Medicine, five years as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, and five years as Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Sciences;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente developed and has led for five years the implementation of Vanderbilt’s Academic Strategic Plan, which identifies the University’s key pillars of cross-disciplinary research, an immersive undergraduate residential experience, innovative educational technology, and health care solutions, and articulates the ways in which these pillars can benefit Vanderbilt and the entire global community;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente provided critical leadership and oversight during the historic transition of the University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center into two separate legal and financial entities, lending her deep understanding of the University’s academic and research enterprises to the essential task of ensuring that medical and nursing education and research in the basic sciences would continue to flourish, along with the long-standing culture of collaboration between the Medical Center and the University;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente oversaw the 2016 Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, or COACHE, faculty job satisfaction survey to identify areas for key investment and improvements in support of University faculty and led the development of more than 70 policy changes and new or expanded programs in response to faculty input;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has led efforts to expand research and scholarship and attract and retain extraordinary scholars across all disciplines through developing innovative and strategic partnerships and philanthropy;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has championed the arts and humanities, developing a dynamic and multifaceted plan to elevate the arts and humanities on campus, further connect to the broader arts community, and support the depth and breadth of humanistic scholarship and creative expression at Vanderbilt;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has developed strategic initiatives designed to strengthen the university’s global reach, bolster its international impact and visibility, and support faculty in pursuing international research, scholarship and creative expression projects;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has supported and furthered the goals of FutureVU, the University’s comprehensive campus planning initiative, including her intentional and strategic formation of advisory groups comprising faculty, students and staff in order to apply diverse viewpoints, varied expertise and a collective mindset to reach the University’s sustainability and land-use goals;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has championed the development of the University’s residential college program and implemented Immersion Vanderbilt, an innovative long-term experiential learning program that is now a cornerstone of the university’s undergraduate curriculum;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente, in a bold implementation of principles of the Academic Strategic Plan, launched the university’s first innovation center, the Wond’ry, to support creative, collaborative discovery and immersive learning experiences;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente worked to foster graduate student success, a keystone of the Academic Strategic Plan, by launching the Russell G. Hamilton scholarships, one of the most extensive graduate student scholarship programs in the nation, which aim to complement the educational experiences of an increasingly diverse and talented pipeline of students with leadership training;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente launched and supported the success of the university’s first Office for Inclusive Excellence to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in the trans-institutional research and educational missions of the university;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente, as Vanderbilt’s first female provost and the first woman to lead the university in an interim capacity or otherwise, has been a trailblazer for women in leadership roles and has advanced the University’s mission of achieving equity and inclusion across all academic affairs;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has been an advocate for women in science while holding a tenured faculty appointment with the academic rank of professor in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine’s Department of Cell and Development Biology. She continues to run an internationally respected research program that has made groundbreaking discoveries regarding the exchange of proteins and RNA and has personally mentored 36 predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente has effectively led Vanderbilt during the COVID-19 global pandemic, one of the greatest challenges the University has ever faced, with timely, decisive and responsible actions driven by knowledge, empathy and a commitment to safeguarding all members of the Vanderbilt community while encouraging and supporting innovative ways to continue the University’s mission of education, research and discovery;

WHEREAS, Interim Chancellor and Provost Wente oversaw the transition of Chancellor Emeritus Zeppos and the onboarding of incoming Chancellor Daniel Diermeier;

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Trust expresses its deepest and most sincere gratitude to Susan R. Wente for her steadfast stewardship of Vanderbilt as Interim Chancellor during a period of transition and unique challenges, and does hereby appoint her Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, effective July 1, 2020.

Adopted by the Board of Trust on the sixteenth day of April, 2020.

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