Chief Academic Officer
University Names New Provost
Rick Fairbanks, provost, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college at Northland College in Ashland, Wis., has been named the new provost at Wittenberg. Fairbanks will begin his duties Aug. 1.
As Wittenberg’s second highest-ranking official and its new chief academic officer, Fairbanks will provide intellectual vision and leadership for the academic program and budget, educational policies, academic appointments, and the stimulation of teaching and research.
“Rick’s direct style, collaborative nature, strategic thinking, desire to make a difference, and ability to create vibrant partnerships in higher and secondary education impressed all of us,” said President Mark H. Erickson. “I’m confident that as our chief academic officer, he will successfully guide Wittenberg’s strategic vision and positively shape our collective future.”
As provost and the vice president of academic affairs at Northland College, Fairbanks led the creation of an integrated, interdisciplinary general education curriculum, restructured academic programs and majors, supervised the establishment of a coherent and integrated cocurriculum, completed a successful diversity plan for faculty hiring, and initiated and led several successful grant proposals, including a Title III proposal totaling nearly $2 million.
Prior to his time at Northland, Fairbanks served as the associate dean for humanities, professor of philosophy and department chair at St. Olaf College, and previously taught philosophy at the University of Chicago, Augustana College, the University of Minnesota and Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.
A native of Minot, N.D. and a 1976 graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., with a B.A. in philosophy and classics, Fairbanks went on to earn his M.A. in religion at the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Minnesota.