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Academic Affairs Leadership Update

March 3, 2022

Dear Bentley Community,

In November, I announced that Donna Maria Blancero was planning to step down as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the end of this academic year. As some of you are aware, since January, Donna Maria has been taking time away from the office on medical leave. I have been in close contact with Donna Maria often over the past few weeks, and I know how desperately she wanted to return to the provost’s office to see this semester through to the end. However, it has become clear that Donna Maria will be unable to return for the foreseeable future due to expected back surgery, and she has made the difficult decision to extend her leave of absence through the end of the academic year.

Though she will return to the faculty in 2023, we will miss Donna Maria’s spirit and drive in leading the academic enterprise while she is on leave. I know and appreciate that Donna Maria came to this difficult decision with the best interests of the university in mind. Everything I shared about Donna Maria in my November announcement remains true today. I am endlessly thankful for all she has done in her tenure as provost to help Bentley move closer to becoming the institution we know it can be.

To ensure our steady path forward and continued success, Rick Oches has graciously accepted my request that he step up from his role as dean of arts and sciences to serve as interim provost while the university’s search committee continues its work to identify a new and permanent provost and vice president for academic affairs. Rick will join the Cabinet, representing academic affairs. While Rick leads the provost’s office, Jane Griffin will also step up from her current role as associate dean of arts and sciences to become the interim dean of arts and sciences.

In addition to these changes, I also want to share an update on the dean of business. Bill Read has been on leave for the last few weeks and his return date is uncertain. In order to ensure we are able to move forward on our many important initiatives, Sanjay Putrevu has agreed to move his start date up to June 1, 2022. To help bridge the gap, I have asked Alina Chircu to serve as interim dean of business at this time, and she has agreed to take on this challenge. I am tremendously thankful to Alina, and to Bill, for working together to manage this transition.

All of these academic leadership changes are effective immediately.

I want to wish Donna Maria and Bill well and offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude for their leadership over the past few years. I also want to offer my thanks to Rick, Jane and Alina, as well as the associate provosts, Mystica Alexander and Cathy Carlson, who are coming together right now to keep the university moving forward. I am confident we are on the right path, and I look forward to working closely with this team in the months ahead.

Most Sincerely,

President Chrite