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July 1, 2013

Purdue names interim vice provost for faculty affairs

Purdue today (July 1) announced that S. Laurel Weldon will serve as the University's interim vice provost for faculty affairs following the July 12 departure of Beverly Davenport Sypher.

Davenport Sypher is leaving to serve as the University of Cincinnati's chief academic officer. A committee is being formed to begin a national search for a permanent replacement, says Timothy Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

"Laurel brings a wealth of Purdue knowledge and experience and a strong disciplinary and interdisciplinary background to her new role," Sands says. "Her interim appointment allows us to move forward seamlessly as we begin the national search for a permanent replacement for Beverly. I look forward to working with her during the next several months."

Weldon, who received her bachelor's degree from Simon Fraser University in Canada, her master's from the University of British Columbia and doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh, came to Purdue's political science department in 1999. She has served as a political science professor and is the founding director of the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion. She chaired the Faculty Advisory Committee for the establishment of the Global Policy Research Institute and was chair of GPRI’s Faculty Leadership committee until last year. She was a University senator and served on the Educational Policy and Nominating committees. She also served on the Faculty Affairs Committee in the College of Liberal Arts.

She specializes in public policy, particularly in analyses using cross-national datasets; comparative politics; social movements; violence against women; and politics and gender, authoring two books, serving as co-editor of the first ever "Oxford Handbook on Politics and Gender," and co-editing the journal "Politics, Groups and Identity." She also has served on the Council of the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association and as president of the Women and Politics Research Section of APSA. Her work has won both internal and external grants and awards, including funding from the National Science Foundation. She has been the recipient of both teaching and research awards, and has worked in a variety of capacities for local and national governments, non-governmental organizations and international, intergovernmental organizations.

"I am very excited to be joining the excellent team in the Provost’s Office and to have an opportunity to work in an area -- faculty affairs -- for which I have great passion. Beverly will be a tough act to follow, but I am ready to give it my best shot," Weldon says.

The vice provost for faculty affairs provides strategic direction for a wide array of faculty-focused initiatives, including recruitment, retention, resource allocation and faculty development. The area also oversees faculty hiring initiatives and faculty success and retention efforts, and also is responsible for faculty policies including grievances, conflict of interest and commitment, and promotion and tenure.