Section: News

Provost to step down in June, successor to be chosen from faculty

A press release sent to the student body on September 23 announced that Provost Joseph L. Klesner will step down from his current position on June 30, 2020.

Klesner has served in the Office of the Provost for almost 10 years, serving as associate provost from 2010-2013 and as provost starting in 2013. He joined the Kenyon faculty in 1985 and has since chaired the departments of both International Studies and Political Science.

While he is stepping down as provost, Klesner still plans to teach classes in the Department of Political Science. “There comes a time where it’s appropriate to bring new leadership in and, for me, if I want to return to the classroom, to get back to there,” Klesner said.

In the time immediately following his departure from the Office of the Provost, Klesner will be working closely with President Decatur on strategic planning for the College, given that the current plan is set to expire in 2020. He will also help prepare for the upcoming re-accreditation process. “It has been my honor to work with Sean Decatur as his chief academic officer — his support, advice and friendship have made this job gratifying, stimulating and invariably edifying. I look forward to continuing to work with Sean on the strategic planning process,” Klesner said in the press release.

During his time as provost, Klesner laid the groundwork for the environmental studies major and made strides in the growth of the computer science department. He has also helped to foster community-engaged learning across campus and has been an advocate for innovative pedagogy within the staff and students. “One of the things we agreed early on was that we needed to do more experiential learning at Kenyon, which is one of the reasons why community-engaged learning has been an important initiative,” Klesner said. He also noted the importance of mentored undergraduate research and high-impact learning, both of which he worked to promote during his tenure.

The search for a new provost, which begins this fall, will be chaired by Professor of Economics Kathy Krynski. The potential candidates will all be current faculty members. “I’m a big fan of the model of faculty stepping into leadership roles,” Decatur said. “Faculty know the institution incredibly well and we have a lot of faculty at Kenyon with very deep roots not only in the institution but in the community and a really good understanding of the culture around the importance of teaching.”

“I’m looking forward to the return to the classroom and it’s been a real honor to lead this faculty,” Klesner said. “It’s a terrific faculty; just so many dedicated, hard-working and talented colleagues. It’s been an honor.”


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