Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community: Over the last several months, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees have engaged in constructive, collaborative and respectful dialogue. The Board of Trustees created a Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity…
Cathryn R. Newton Appointed Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Faculty Engagement
Calling faculty engagement critical to the long-term success of Syracuse University, Chancellor Kent Syverud and Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele G. Wheatly today appointed Cathryn Newton to the position of Special Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for Faculty Engagement. In this role, she will report directly to Chancellor Syverud and Provost Wheatly. Newton, dean emerita of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of Earth sciences and interdisciplinary sciences, also serves as a member of the Campus Framework Advisory Group and previously served as a Provost’s Faculty Fellow.
In this new position, Newton will be responsible for:
• partnering with the University’s Office of Research to grow the University’s involvement, achievements and reputation in the area of undergraduate research;
• collaborating with Provost Wheatly and Pete Sala, vice president and chief facilities officer, to help refine the Campus Framework in meaningful ways to further address the academic and research needs of faculty and students; and
• working with the SUNY-ESF leadership to identify several areas of collaboration, including research and faculty partnerships that support the Academic Strategic Plan.
“Cathryn is a respected member of our faculty with an outstanding record of research and teaching success,” says Chancellor Syverud. “The University is fortunate to have someone as talented as Cathryn willing to step into this very important role to help bring the academic and research goals contained within the Campus Framework and Academic Strategic Plan to fruition. I look forward to working with her to further position of the University as a great, thriving, international research institution.”
An ocean scientist, paleobiologist and environmental stratigrapher, Newton has published many scientific papers on modern and ancient marine communities, especially deep-water reefs; ecological dynamics of mass extinctions; and quantitative paleoecological theories of how communities work. Some have been selected as “Science Classics” in the journal Science. Newton’s work on mass extinctions and deep-water coral reefs is based on extensive field work and intensive research in museum collections around the world. She has won numerous awards for research and teaching, including Syracuse University Scholar-Teacher of the Year.
“Cathryn is well known and widely respected in the academy for her research prowess and dedication to creating and leveraging innovative teaching methods,” says Provost Wheatly. “The faculty perspective is critically important to the University’s research, scholarship and teaching success. Cathryn’ s ability to liaise with faculty—from across schools, colleges and disciplines—will better prepare us to meet the evolving needs of our faculty, students and staff researchers. I am grateful to Cathryn for her leadership during this vital juncture at the University.”
“I warmly welcome this role that will enhance both the undergraduate experience and the research profile of the institution. The work with SUNY-ESF is also crucial, and builds on many years of collaboration among the two faculties,” Newton says.
As a 16-year-old Duke sophomore, Newton was the youngest scientist on the Duke-MIT-North Carolina-Delaware team that discovered the wreck of USS Monitor off North Carolina in 1973. She has written a book on this experience, and has done further scientific work in this region after being asked to collaborate with NOAA in the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary off Hatteras. She has done extensive research on shipwrecks, their preservation and their environmental history, and has been recognized by the Secretary of the Navy, NOAA and the Swedish government for this work.
Newton, who chaired Earth sciences (1993-2000), led the College of Arts and Sciences as its first female dean in 2000-2008. In both roles, she focused on enhancing excellence in faculty and student ventures and on elevating research and creative work. She has been instrumental to the Renée Crown University Honors Program for decades, and was founding co-director of the Women in Science and Engineering program at Syracuse (established in 1997 and tremendously successful).
One of Newton’s passions is campus space planning leading to increased academic excellence and scholarly impact. Newton oversaw the planning, fundraising and construction of the Life Sciences Complex and the renovation of Tolley Hall as a Humanities Center, the first ever on the Syracuse campus. In each case, as dean she worked closely with the academic units involved to ensure their strategic plans dovetailed with the space being envisioned and planned. Newton is also a member of the Campus Framework Advisory Group, a team of students, faculty, staff and alumni charged with re-envisioning the Syracuse campus for the next 20 years, 2016-2036.