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Roger Williams University Appoints Provost and Senior Vice President

Accomplished administrator and faculty member Andrew A. Workman, Ph.D. joins RWU after 19 years at Mills College in Oakland, Calif.
Photo by: Mills College - Oakland, Calif.

BRISTOL, R.I. – Roger Williams University has named educator Andrew A. Workman, Ph.D. its provost and senior vice president, a role in which he will oversee all academic affairs responsibilities for the University.

Dr. Workman will report to RWU President Donald J. Farish, Ph.D., J.D., and serve as a key member of the senior administrative team at Roger Williams. He comes to the University from Mills College in Oakland, Calif., where he has served as vice provost since 2007.

“The search committee did a wonderful job and provided me with the names of four outstanding candidates for provost,” Dr. Farish said. “In the end, however, it was Andy’s enthusiasm, energy, warmth and proven competence as an academic administrator that made him stand out. I have every confidence he will prove a wonderful and effective colleague for both our faculty and our administrative team.”

The appointment of Dr. Workman concludes a search initiated in the fall of 2011 and conducted by a search committee comprising faculty and administrators and co-chaired by Professor of Biology Marcie Marston and School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation Dean Stephen White. Dr. Workman will assume his new responsibilities on July 15, 2012.

“Roger Williams offers the combination of a strong liberal arts core along with a number of professional and graduate programs, and I think the University has the ability to make that even more of a strength,” Dr. Workman said. “That’s what students and parents want – it makes the degrees that much stronger, if you can link graduate and undergraduate programs.”

Following his campus visit during the interview process, Dr. Workman emerged with a respect for the dedication of the RWU faculty and staff.

“They are clearly committed to the mission of the University and to the students,” he said. “That reminded me of Mills College, which has a similar commitment. For the people I met at Roger Williams, it seemed like their work was not just a job, but a calling.”

Dr. Workman joined Mills College in 1993 as assistant professor of history, serving as a full-time faculty member – and eventual chair of the department of history – until 2002. That year, he accepted his first administrative position, becoming dean of social sciences. He subsequently advanced to associate dean of academic planning and development and then associate provost for academic affairs before earning his current role as vice provost in 2007.

As vice provost, Dr. Workman led a five-year undertaking to transform the school’s first-year experience and advising programs – an effort that resulted in a 10 percent increase in first- to second-year retention rate – as well as a taskforce that overhauled the College’s tuition, financial aid and recruitment strategy and increased enrollment and tuition revenue by more than 25 percent.

Dr. Workman played a lead role in doubling the number faculty research proposals at Mills and increasing total sponsored research from $8 million to $20 million. In addition, he expanded academic support resources for undergraduates, creating a peer tutoring program and integrating it with writing and testing to form a new Center for Academic Excellence.

With a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and social theory earned in 1983 from New College of Florida, Dr. Workman holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

He is an accomplished researcher with an extensive list of published works, many focused on history and policy from the United States during the President Franklin D. Roosevelt era. His teaching and research fields include 20th century U.S. history; intellectuals and public policy; labor history; African American history since Emancipation; and the history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A community servant and engaged member of the Oakland community, Dr. Workman co-led Words that Made America, a program for teaching history in two Northern California school districts. He is also founder and director of the Oakland Living History Program, which partners with community groups to produce oral histories on the city’s neighborhoods and communities.

Dr. Workman was named to the inaugural cohort of the Council of Independent Colleges and American Academic Leadership Institute Senior Leadership Academy in 2010-11. In 2005, he earned the Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Award for Teaching Excellence.

High-resolution photograph available here.