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Wittenberg University Names Rick Fairbanks As New Provost

May 19, 2010  
 Filed in Featured Events

Springfield, Ohio – 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 University. Fairbanks will begin his new 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.

“For me, Wittenberg represents both the possibility of a kind of homecoming and a continued sense of vocation,” Fairbanks said. “I am confident that my administrative experience provides an ideal preparation for Wittenberg’s needs, and I look forward to joining the university’s dynamic academic community.”

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 co-curriculum, 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 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where he provided oversight of staff planning, hiring, budget management, and capital and non-capital expenditures. In addition, Fairbanks oversaw facilities planning and administrative support for department chairs, program directors, and 80 faculty members in eight departments and four interdisciplinary programs. While at St. Olaf, Fairbanks also served as a professor of philosophy and the department’s chair.  Before joining the faculty at St. Olaf, Fairbanks previously taught philosophy at the University of Chicago, Augustana College, the University of Minnesota and Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.

“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 Wittenberg 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.”

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. Widely published, Fairbanks is especially interested in the philosophy of science, environmental philosophy and political philosophy. He and his wife Angela will be moving to Springfield this summer, along with their two young children, Nora and Claire.

Written By: Karen Gerboth

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