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Provost Announcement

February 27, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

Robert PrezantI am very pleased to announce that Dr. Robert S. Prezant has been named as the University’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Bob brings with him a proven record of success from more than 35 years of teaching, research and leadership in higher education.

I thank Dr. Craig Hlavac and his search committee for their excellent efforts in selecting a high-quality group of finalists after a nationwide search that yielded a strong, qualified pool of 58 candidates. And I also thank Dr. Ellen Durnin for her outstanding leadership and vision in serving as interim provost during this transitional period.

Bob is currently the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University and Professor in the Department of Biology, where he specializes in malacology – the scientific study of molluscs. His professional life has always been within public institutions: he previously served as Chair of a 33-member Department of Biological Sciences at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and as Dean of the Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at Queens College (City University of New York).

At Montclair State, Bob has teamed with faculty and staff to establish new programs relevant to the 21st Century, to create proposals enhancing external support, and to initiate centers and institutes - all while ensuring a diverse, student-centric environment.  Within the College of Science and Mathematics, external funding is up several fold over the past decade, spurring the development of an Institute for Sustainability Studies, Center for Quantitative Obesity Research and institutes for pharmaceutical life sciences and research and education. Bob has also garnered more than $6.5 million in public and private funding to support his research and college programs such as the Science Honors Innovation Program and the Alliance for Minority Participation in the Sciences.

Bob has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and he founded and served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Malacological Bulletin and Editor of Perspectives in Malacology, and The Second International Corbicula Symposium. He was President of the American Malacological Society and serves or has served in a leading role on a number of public bodies, including the New Jersey Sea Grant Board of Directors, the Passaic River Flood Commission and the New Jersey Research & Development Council.

He is a named University Professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he received the Outstanding Research Award. Bob holds a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the University of Delaware, an M.S. in Marine Science from Northeastern University, and a B.A. in Biology from Adelphi University.

I believe that Bob’s proven leadership, talent for innovation and wide-ranging experience in areas critical to Southern will serve us well. These include: securing external funding, initiating academic and public-private partnerships, and retaining and graduating students from under-represented backgrounds.  Please join me in welcoming Bob, his wife Fran - a nationally certified speech and language pathologist and disabilities specialist - and family to our community. Bob’s first official day at Southern will be July 10, but he will be visiting several times before then to work closely with me, Ellen and faculty leadership as part of the transition process. Please take the opportunity to give Bob a warm Southern welcome when you see him on campus.


Joe Bertolino