Burgess Restructures A.V.P. Office

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties David R. Burgess has announced several administrative and organizational changes in his office that will take effect in the coming months.

Michael Smyer will assume the title of associate academic vice president for research and graduate studies, Burgess said. Smyer, who has served as associate vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences since 1994, will oversee the University's doctoral degree programs and maintain responsibility for research administration.

In addition, Burgess will appoint an associate academic vice president for academic technology and facilities. He or she will be the principal academic officer working with newly appointed Vice President for Information Technology Kathleen Warner to direct and support the University's academic technology mission, Burgess said, and provide oversight of distribution, construction or renovation of academic facilities.

Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties David R. Burgess (right) and Michael Smyer, who has assumed the new post of associate academic vice president for research and graduate studies. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Burgess said he expects these changes will be completed by the summer, by which time a new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences also is expected to be identified. He added that the appointments will reflect Boston College's institutional needs and ambitions, as well as current administrative models in American higher education.

"When the transition is over, there will be four senior-level administrators in this office," explained Burgess, referring to Associate Academic Vice President Robert Newton and Associate Dean of Faculties Richard Spinello. "One of the priorities identified in the University's recent investment in academic resources is a better delivery of academic-related services. This restructuring will make that possible by integrating several critical functions and responsibilities into one office.

"Furthermore, one of the University's major goals is to achieve recognition as a Carnegie Research II category institution," he continued. "The AVP Office we envision, especially the designation of a senior administrator to coordinate academic use of technology, is characteristic of institutions in that category. So the reorganization makes sense for a number of reasons."

While some details of the transition are still being finalized, Smyer said he expects his responsibilities to include areas such as student recruitment and retention, career placement, and the development of fellowship and similar funding opportunities.

"I look forward to expanding my role as an advocate for graduate studies and research at Boston College," said Smyer. "I will work with deans of the University's other schools to assure the needs of their graduate students come to attention. I am also pleased to continue my role in fostering Boston College's increasing research activities."

The associate AVP for academic technology and facilities position was recently posted, and Burgess said the search will focus initially on internal candidates with faculty-level experience utilizing technology in teaching and research. Primary responsibilities will include planning and coordination of all aspects of technology to support the University's instructional, research and service goals, Burgess said, including areas such as Internet-related functions, distance learning and faculty development.

"Integrating academic and research-related computing has been a consistently stated concern of the University," he said. "It is critical for us to meet the needs of our administrators and faculty, and we must be prepared for a time in the not-too-distant future when all our students have computers on campus."

While most of the job encompasses computing and technology, he said, the new associate vice president also will work with deans, department chairs and the director of Space Management to coordinate the allocation of all academic facilities.

"In a university of this size, and with this diversity of academic programs," said Burgess, "it has become clear that we need a senior-level administrator to provide oversight for our academic space needs."

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