Dear Faculty and Staff: Thank you for your patience as the cross-functional working group of deans, faculty and staff has further developed and solidified our plans for returning faculty and staff to campus. I write to share an update on…
Alston to Rejoin Faculty after Decade of Administrative Leadership and Service
Interim Vice Chancellor and Provost Liz Liddy announced today that Senior Vice President for Human Capital Development Kal Alston is stepping back from some of her administrative leadership responsibilities to rejoin the faculty.
The transition will allow Alston to focus more intently on her work with the Office of the Provost and her National Science Foundation research project, which concludes at the end of the year. She will continue to assist the provost with certain ongoing projects, including some issues relating to faculty promotion and tenure, and will retain the faculty and staff wellness portfolio.
“Kal has been an outstanding asset in the University’s efforts to break down silos, enhance cross-disciplinary collaboration and ensure that the people who make this place great have the support they need to develop their full potential,” says Liddy. “Her wisdom, integrity and deep expertise as a day-to-day administrative leader will be greatly missed, but I look forward to our continued collaboration on several key projects as she rejoins the faculty as a gifted teacher and scholar.”
Chancellor Kent Syverud says Alston has played a key role in fostering talent and expanding opportunities for faculty, staff and students. “Kal’s leadership and her commitment to access and innovation have made the University a stronger, better place,” Syverud says. “She has provided crucial support for faculty development, which has enhanced the student experience. I am grateful for her service to the University and its people.”
“All the work I have done here has involved deep engagement with the people—faculty, students, staff and partners—of the University,” says Alston, “and that work has been incredibly fulfilling, challenging and interesting every day. I am looking forward to tackling a few projects that have been simmering on the back burner, developing some new courses and working with my colleagues in new capacities.”
A professor of cultural foundations of education and women’s and gender studies, Alston served as senior associate provost for academic administration before being named senior vice president for human capital development in 2011. In that capacity, she played a key leadership role in working with the University Senate to formulate and implement a revised tenure policy, which the Senate unanimously passed, that expanded criteria to encompass new areas of scholarship. As part of her multifaceted commitment to fostering opportunity for underrepresented populations, she also played a lead role in implementing SU ADVANCE, a National Science Foundation-sponsored initiative to increase the representation of women in the STEM disciplines.
On an ongoing basis, she has been deeply involved in faculty searches and hiring during a period when fully one-third of the faculty were refreshed, and she ensured that new hires received important orientation and mentoring support to ease their assimilation into the faculty ranks. She has provided support daily to academic leaders and staff as they have sought to work across silos and address a range of complex issues.
Alston’s portfolio also included oversight of human resources, and under her leadership, the office successfully forged several new agreements that simultaneously enhanced benefits and reduced costs to the University.
In a move related to Alston’s transition, Karen Morrissey, currently executive director of human resources operations, will oversee day-to-day operations of human resources until the University’s national search for a new chief human resources officer concludes. She will report directly to the Chancellor during this time.
In addition, Cynthia Maxwell Curtin, associate vice president for human capital development and chief officer for Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services, will now report to Interim Provost Liddy.