Calvin names new Provost-Elect Cheryl Brandsen

File Photo
File Photo

Calvin’s provost search committee has recommended Cheryl Brandsen, Calvin’s current dean of social sciences and contextual disciplines, as the college’s next provost.

“Cheryl’s demonstrated commitment to Reformed Christianity, academic excellence and her winsome and collaborative approach to leadership distinguished her at the end of the process,” said Calvin’s President Michael Le Roy in a press release. “We are grateful for her willingness to serve Calvin College in this new role.”

Brandsen will begin her tenure as provost on July 1, 2014, pending ratification by the Calvin College Board of Trustees.

According to the press release, Brandsen will serve as the chief academic officer for the college and sit on the president’s cabinet. Brandsen is confident her experience as an academic dean has prepared her well for the role.

“Being in the role of academic dean, one sees a lot and hears a lot about what is going on in the institution. There are many good things happening here at Calvin that have come about because of [current Provost Claudia Beversluis’] leadership, and I’m so grateful and appreciative to her for that,” said Brandsen.

“There are also things that I’ve observed as we move forward that present opportunities for Calvin to consider, so just being in this office has given me a front-row seat to some of those conversations.”

Brandsen was selected by the provost search committee, a group of 11 members of the college’s faculty, administration and staff, which was co-hosted by President Le Roy and Communication Arts and Sciences Professor Judy Vander Woude.

According to the press release, “the national search included more than 150 nominations and resulted in a diverse and qualified pool of 28 applicants.”

In a letter sent to faculty, staff and students, President Le Roy commended the work of the search committee for producing such a strong group of applicants.

“Our finalist pool consisted of two Chief Academic Officers and Dean Brandsen. The finalists had extensive interviews with me, the committee, the president’s cabinet, trustee Wendy Hofman who represented the Academic Affairs Committee and the Board, as well as a student panel. I have not seen a more competitive pool for a senior leadership position in the eight executive-level searches I have witnessed.” Le Roy said.

Before becoming a dean, Brandsen served as the department chair for the sociology and social work department (2002-2008). She also has 25 years of experience in the classroom teaching sociology and social work courses.

“Part of what makes it possible to say ‘yes’ to this job is knowing there are so many smart, talented people on this campus who know a lot about students, about enrollment, about advancement, and about teaching, learning and research,” said Brandsen in the press release.

“They all are incredibly committed to this institution and faithful to the work we do here. I look forward to continuing to work with all of these excellent people, both within the academic affairs division and across other divisions.”

Students, faculty and staff are invited to join together for an opportunity for questions and answers tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 26, from noon to 1 p.m., in the Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall followed by a brief reception in the west lobby.

Correction: The original press release stated Brandsen’s appointment would need approval from Calvin’s board of trustees and the Christian Reformed Church’s synod. The appointment will only require ratification by the board of trustees. 

About the Author

Lauren De Haan

Lauren De Haan is Chimes Editor in Chief for the 2014-15 school year.

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