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USF Names New Provost


College of Arts and Sciences Dean Jennifer Turpin (left) will be USF's new provost beginning June 1, USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. (right), announced Feb. 17.

Jennifer E. Turpin, University of San Francisco dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2003, has been selected as the university’s next provost.

Turpin, who previously served as associate dean for USF’s College of Arts and Sciences in social sciences, succeeds James L. Wiser USF vice president for academic affairs since 1998 and provost since 1999. Turpin’s first day on the job will be June 1.

Turpin was chosen after a nationwide search that brought four finalists from across the country to take part in open interviews on campus. USF President Stephen A. Privett S.J., praised the search committee, chaired by law Professor Tim Iglesias, for its inclusive and participatory approach to the process that included various departments.

USF’s provost is the chief academic officer of the university and counts among his/her duties overseeing the recruitment and retention of faculty, curriculum development, instilling USF’s values characterized by a faith that does justice, directing the academic programs of the university through the deans and colleges, overseeing admissions and transfer policies, as well as student academic services, and budget planning.

Wiser plans to remain at USF as a faculty member of the politics department, following a sabbatical.

Turpin first joined USF’s sociology faculty in 1991, after receiving her doctorate in sociology from the University of Texas, Austin. During her years as a faculty member at USF, she received USF’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and the College Service Award. Turpin founded USF’s women’s studies program, and was chair of the sociology department from 1995-97.

As dean she initiated new courses and programming, growing the College of Arts and Sciences’ revenue by 81 percent over seven years. Turpin impressed the provost search committee with her insider-knowledge of USF and her drive to preside over continued improvements and innovations at USF, as illustrated by her “First 100 Days as Provost” plan – which includes ideas for expanding the role of USF’s regional campuses, developing three-year bachelor of arts and bachelor of science options, and initiating the creation of a USF Center for Teaching Excellence, and a USF Center for Research Excellence.

“I want to make USF into a  ‘beacon’ of higher education, where we resist the standard and tired, statistical indicators of distinction, and pioneer new measures of academic excellence,” Turpin told search committee members during her interview.

In congratulating Turpin, Fr. Privett praised the quality of all of the candidates who applied for the provost’s job. “It only highlights how fortunate we are to have selected Dean Turpin,” Fr. Privett said. ”We know she is the best person.”

Turpin’s past scholarly research addresses the causes and consequences of violence, the role of gender in warfare, the sociology of the Cold War, and the impact of Russian media on the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. She is the author of Reinventing the Soviet Self, and co-editor of The Web of Violence, The Women and War Reader, The Gendered New World Order, Rethinking Peace, and the three-volume Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict.

Turpin was the youngest scholar ever elected to lead the American Sociological Association's section on peace, war, and social conflict, as well as the Peace and Justice Studies Association.

Written by Edward Carpenter »usfnews@usfca.edu