Loyola University Chicago

Office of the Provost

100 Days at Loyola

100 Days at Loyola
Norberto M. Grzywacz, Provost
Loyola University Chicago

May 14, 2020

Fellow Loyolans,

Upon reaching the 100-day mark as the provost of Loyola University Chicago, I'm reflecting on the most unusual circumstances under which I began my new job! To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has made these first 100 days turbulent would be an understatement. However, we should never lose hope, nor the pursuit of our aspirations, even when in the midst of a storm. As I shared with you in my recent communications, I am convinced that we will emerge stronger together. We will build a remarkable future for Loyola. Our present focus must be on readiness for the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis, from both the health and the financial spheres. However, while important, our eyes are on the prize, as we remain focused on our future.

Since my arrival at Loyola 100 days ago, I and other colleagues in the Office of the Provost have begun preparing for the future. We have been working to revamp our academic space. This work has intentionally involved multiple stakeholders from across the University. The purpose for this communication is to outline some of the chief academic projects at the University beyond those related to the COVID-19 crisis. My intent here is to highlight some of the projects undertaken to date, leaving others for later messages.

Academic Vision

The academic vision that I have proposed for Loyola is to shift part of our ventures towards the most urgent and complex problems burdening society. Because these problems are complex, the foremost way to fulfill this vision is for faculty and students from the different schools to work jointly in a collaborative fashion. This work will be highly interdisciplinary.

The primary step towards executing this vision is to work with the Loyola community. Faculty and students are the creative force of the University, and are thus, an indispensable part of the process. I commenced it as soon as I arrived by engaging the deans. We have been considering some of the major social problems that Loyolans may be best suited to pursue jointly. For example, we have considered programs on children’s rights, aging, environmental sustainability, violence, health and education disparities, and a few others. We have also been considering the structural complications at Loyola that may hinder such collaborations. These complications include budgets, budget authorities, marketing, and culture, among others.

In addition, I have been holding conversations and maintaining dialogue with many Loyola stakeholders. For example, I have already visited over Zoom with the faculty and staff of the Quinlan School of Business, the Stritch School of Medicine, the Schools of Education, Communication, and Social Work; and the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health. Furthermore, I visited the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Arrupe College, and the Center for Urban Research and Learning. Finally, this week, I have started a round of visits with all the departments and academic units of the College of Arts and Sciences. I want to engage with you and hear your ideas. Only when we work together collaboratively and share ideas candidly can we reach the pinnacle that we dream for Loyola.

Finally, I have discussed the vision and its implementation with the governance bodies of Loyola. In particular, I have shared my initial thinking around the vision and its implementation with the Board of Trustees, with President Jo Ann Rooney (frequently), and the president's Cabinet. I have also done so with the Senate, Faculty Council, Staff Council (three times), and the Student Government. Have I forgotten anyone? LOL :'D

New Deans

I consider myself fortunate. For a provost who has been in place for just 100 days, 70 under the specter of COVID-19, I have already been involved in the search for four deans. I inherited and concluded three dean searches. The fourth dean search, for the College of Arts and Sciences, is underway. We anticipate completing this dean search by the end of May. Listed below are all the new deans, who will commence their work by August 1, 2020:

1. Emily Barman, Ph.D., will be the Dean of the Graduate School as of July 1.

2. Sam Marzo, M.D., has become the Dean of the Stritch School of Medicine as of May 6.

3. Thomas Neitzke, S.J., will be the Dean of Arrupe College as of August 1.

4. TBD, College of Arts and Sciences (position to start on July 1).

As provost, I am thrilled to work with these wonderful new leaders and with our entire Loyola community to accomplish our shared vision of academic excellence. I am also grateful to the two deans who these new leaders are replacing. Thomas Regan, S.J., PhD, has been steering both the Graduate School and the College of Arts and Sciences wisely, capably, and in an inclusive manner. In turn, Steve Katsouros, S.J., has developed an “improbable” college. With vitality and creativity, he has developed a venture of which we are all proud of at Loyola. Tom and Steve will be sorely missed, but will always be a part of the fabric of our community.

Reorganization of the Provost Office

As we progress together toward our One Loyola model, we must reorganize the team in the Office of the Provost. This provost’s team must support our faculty, staff, and students across all our campuses in achieving our enterprising academic vision. Consequently, we have been working hard since my arrival 100 days ago to ensure that the Office of the Provost is responsive to the necessities of our community. The Office must also be equipped to execute our strategic objectives in research, teaching, and service. You will shortly come to know the new members of our provost team. They are leaders committed to serving you in attaining your academic goals. The new people in leadership positions at the Office of the Provost are:

1. Sheila McMullan, J.D., M.L.S, will be the executive vice provost as of July 1. She will join us from Georgetown University and will be responsible for the daily coordination of the Office. When Sheila arrives, we will send an announcement to introduce her to the Loyola community at large.

2. Emily Barman, Ph.D., will be the vice provost for graduate education as of July 1. In this position, she will ensure that all graduate students, regardless of school, have access to all services. Examples of services that currently do not reach all graduate students include those from the Wellness and Career Centers. Thus, Emily will be an advocate for all graduate students at Loyola.

3. Badia Ahad, Ph.D., will be the vice provost for faculty affairs as of July 1. Her responsibilities will be to set and maintain regulations around issues of promotion, tenure, and merit increases across all three campuses. Badia will also promote the professional development of all faculty, particularly junior faculty, and will work to diversify the faculty body. Furthermore, she will also work on matters related to infringements of the Code of Conduct set by the faculty handbook.

4. Meharvan (Sonny) Singh, Ph.D., will be the vice provost for research as of May 15. As vice provost for research, he will be responsible for the leadership and strategy of the Loyola research operations. As such, he will identify and make investment recommendations for areas of research that should be priority for the University in terms of academic vision and extramural funding opportunities. Moreover, he will develop and manage the research infrastructure of the University with an eye to increase its volume of scholarship. He will also develop standard research policies for the entire University.

5. D. Scott Hendrickson, S.J., D.Phil., will be the associate provost for global and community engagement as of May 15. Scott will create and oversee a comprehensive approach to global and community engagement that advances the mission of the University. Our vision for his office is that all Loyola undergraduate students will engage in either global or community engagement. Thus, our students will work with people of other countries or communities around Loyola to develop social empathy.

I am also delighted to report that Michael Kaufman, David Slavsky, JoBeth D’ Agostino, and Joanna Pappas will continue to serve in the Office of the Provost. They will be vice provosts of academic strategy, institutional effectiveness, academic programs and planning, and finance and operations respectively.

The various appointments internal to Loyola to the Provost’s Office followed a strategy to develop new academic leaders from within our faculty ranks. The only two people recruited from outside Loyola were Sheila and Emily. Another advantage of recruiting mostly internally to Loyola is to reallocate resources and minimize expenditures, a necessity during the COVID-19 crisis. Both Sheila and Emily were recruited before the crisis commenced. Significantly, Emily will have a dual role, being both vice provost of graduate education and the dean of the Graduate School. Others also with dual administrative roles will be Michael Kaufmann (vice provost for academic strategy and dean of the School of Law) and Sonny Singh (vice provost for research and vice dean for research at Stritch). Such dual roles also help resource optimization.

As with the new deans, I am excited to work with my colleagues in the Office of the Provost towards our vision of a new Loyola

One Loyola

A salient change in our University that the Office of the Provost must handle is the One Loyola model. This change provides an opportunity to coordinate our strengths and resources from across the University to address problems that otherwise we could not. The restructuring of the Office of the Provost outlined above allows us to begin this coordination for graduate education, strategy, faculty affairs, research, and global and community engagement. We have also been working to coordinate matters in other fronts. For example, we began coordinating the assignments of the business managers from the schools and institutes of the University. Joanna Pappas, the vice provost for finance and operations, oversees this coordination.

Another change that we began implementing towards One Loyola is a reorganization of the operational infrastructure across the three campuses. The most immediate progress in this effort has occurred at the Health Science Campus. We have achieved this progress through multiple meetings between the three deans of that campus and me. Here is the progress at that Campus so far:

1. All HSC centers will be administered by one of the three HSC schools by July 1 as follows:

a. Parkinson: Institute for Translational Medicine, NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award Program, and Center for Health Outcomes and Informatics Research;

b. Medicine: Clinical Research Office, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Infectious Disease and Immunology Research Institute, Burn and Shock Trauma Research Institute, and Oncology Research Institute;

c. Nursing: Center for Simulation Education and Institute for Transformative Interprofessonal Education.

d. The Vice Provost of Research and the three HSC deans will develop new Memoranda of Understanding to govern how these centers will serve each school outside their administrative home.

2. The HSC Office of Informatics and Systems Development will dissolve and its personnel will start reporting to the vice president and chief information officer of the university on July 1.

3. We will have a new clinical data management plan on July 1.

a. The vice provost of research and the three deans of the HSC will develop this plan.

These changes advance us closer to a One Loyola. Thanks to them, the centers will report to the three deans, who in turn, will be able to harmonize the undertakings of these centers with the other schools of the University. Likewise, we will no longer have distinct information-technology services for the different schools and campuses. And the clinical data management plan will be tailored by the scholars employing it and coordinated by the vice provost for research.

Moving towards a New School of Environmental Sustainability

One of my most pleasant discoveries in my first 100 days as the provost of Loyola is the Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES). I have been especially impressed by the work and passion of the founding dean of IES, Nancy Tuchman. Recently, she began working towards the inception of a School of Environmental Sustainability. The IES has been a smashing triumph (well, perhaps excluding that Biosoap! LOL :'D). Enrollment has been surging yearly, with students citing the commitment of Loyola to environmental sustainability as grounds for coming to our University, and research in the field flourishing. In addition, environmental sustainability fits flawlessly into the academic vision discussed above.

So, with Nancy’s guidance, it is time to consider moving forward from an Institute to a School. IES is currently in its seventh year of successful operation, and has met the Loyola criteria for school status. In its May meeting, the Senate recommended to me the creation of the school. I, in turn, have recommended to President Rooney that we proceed. Under the leadership and support of President Rooney, we will advance our recommendation to the Board of Trustees for deliberation and consideration. We are cautiously optimistic that by September or so, the Board will ratify the creation of the School.

A school status for IES will benefit the University in many ways. This status will amplify the identity of Loyola as a center for the learning of and reaffirm our commitment to environmental sustainability. Loyola will thus retain its competitive edge as a leading University in this field. Moreover, school status will enhance the ability of Loyola to obtain a greater share of students, strengthening our market impact. School status will also confer increased prestige, impacting our graduates’ success at getting into the best jobs and most competitive PhD programs. Equally important, schools will further advance the efforts of the Society of Jesus to address the environmental emergency under the Universal Apostolic Preferences.


With the world in upheaval due to the COVID-19 crisis, we may momentarily lose sight that Loyola is a special university with an important mission. For me to spend most of my first 100 days as provost amid this crisis has been taxing. However, I am not alone in both discerning the predicament and facing it. I am in the company of amazing and committed Loyola colleagues. And I am motivated by the image of an inspiring future for Loyola. Therefore, as you can read in this message, I have been immersed in leading the Office of the Provost to pave the way for our future even in the midst of a global pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis is not the end of the future, but rather this pandemic directly corresponds to where we want to go. You are probably now saying, “Norberto has surely lost a screw. Why else would he say that COVID-19 corresponds with our future?” Please remember that I started this communication by mentioning, “The academic vision that I have proposed for Loyola is to shift part of our ventures towards the most urgent and complex problems burdening society.” Well, what other problem is more urgent and complex these days? I am not saying that Loyola should become a world-renowned center for the study of COVID-19. What I am saying is that by fully becoming a One Loyola, we can be a University that is world-renowned for its courage in addressing the most urgent and complex problems. Students will come to us not only because they will learn their selected fields of study, but because they will wholly become people for others. We should do something for others, not just endure despair.

Let us fill our University community and society with hope and aspirations for a better future. Hence, my dear partners in crime, let us raise a glass to an invigorating summer. Together, and with much energy, we will continue our indefatigable pursuit of our alluring aspirations.

Together in Loyola,
Norberto M. Grzywacz, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer