Melissa Lavitt to be appointed IUPUI senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs

  • Dec. 18, 2013


INDIANAPOLIS --Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Nasser H. Paydar has announced the appointment of Melissa R. Lavitt as IUPUI's senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs effective Feb. 1, pending approval by the Indiana University Board of Trustees.

Lavitt, who currently serves as dean of the College of Social Sciences & Public Affairs at Boise State University, was selected for the position after an extensive national search chaired by Stephen Bogdewic, executive associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development at the IU School of Medicine. Lavitt will assume the expanded role in the Office of Academic Affairs, succeeding Mary L. Fisher, who is retiring from her position as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and associate dean of the faculties, a role she has served since 2008.

As senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, Lavitt will provide leadership and vision for the direction of faculty affairs and faculty life at IUPUI, as well as provide significant leadership in shaping programs and events that develop faculty talent and leadership at all stages of career advancement, including promotion and tenure programs and processes, awards and funding opportunities, new faculty orientation and faculty mentoring. In addition, Lavitt will respond to needs and initiatives as they arise, while also initiating programs or activities that will enhance faculty affairs and faculty life on campus.

“Dr. Lavitt is a skilled, dedicated and collaborative leader whose experiences have prepared her well for advancing and enhancing academic, faculty and campus life at IUPUI," Paydar said. "Additionally, her professional training as a facilitator provides her with a unique perspective that will continue to inform her administrative work. I’m pleased she’s joining the IUPUI leadership team and look forward to the contributions she will bring to both the campus and university.” 

In addition to her role as a dean at Boise State, where she was responsible for 11 academic departments and several research centers, Lavitt is also a professor of social work. Lavitt’s accomplishments at Boise State include securing funding and state board support to launch a new Ph.D. in public policy; creating the first downtown university site and urban classroom; developing a web-native journal, The Blue Review, to disseminate public scholarship in the public interest; initiating new collaborations to address underserved populations; and establishing the first Student Success Office to address enrollment management and retention issues, as well as the first Student Advisory Board to address student concerns outside the classroom.

Before her work at Boise State, Lavitt was the interim vice provost of graduate education, research, academic planning and evaluation at Eastern Washington University.

"I am looking forward to joining this vibrant campus and the great team of academic leaders,” Lavitt said. “Faculty are the backbone of the institution and the basis for successful implementation of the campus strategic plan. I look forward to contributing."

Lavitt received her Bachelor of Arts with honors at the University of Chicago, and her Master of Social Work and Ph.D. in social work from Tulane University.

Melissa Lavitt

Melissa Lavitt

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Margie Smith-Simmons