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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - August 2021

By Mary Jane Chew

Heather Servaty-Seib and Rod Williams named to new roles

The Office of the Provost has announced new appointments for Heather Servaty-Seib and Rod N. Williams. Servaty-Seib, professor of counseling psychology in the College of Education and associate dean for student life in the Honors College, has been named associate vice provost for teaching and learning.  Williams, professor of wildlife sciences in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, has been named assistant provost for engagement.  Both appointments are effective immediately.

Heather Servaty-Seib
Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

Servaty-Seib has been serving as interim associate vice provost for teaching and learning since May of 2020 and previously served as associate head of educational studies. In her now-permanent role, she will continue to report to Jenna Rickus, vice provost for teaching and learning. 

“As interim associate vice provost, Heather has provided valuable leadership around student success during the pandemic,” said Rickus. “Her innovative and evidence-based approaches have made a real difference for students.  I look forward to what she will achieve in this role.”

Servaty-Seib will work directly with teaching and learning units focused on student success, academic advising, exploratory studies, and career success.  She also will be engaged in efforts to expand effective use of student data to inform teaching and learning practices.

Servaty-Seib joined the Purdue faculty in 2000 as assistant professor. Her research interests include a broad range of areas within the field of thanatology (i.e., the study of death and dying), with particular emphasis on late adolescent/young adult grief, death and dying-related communication issues, and social support offered to the bereaved. 

In his new role, Williams will report to Steve Abel, associate provost for engagement.

“We are beyond excited to welcome Rod into this role,” Abel says. “We’ve benefited from his leadership, research and project management skills as a provost fellow and now look forward to the positive impact he’ll have on our engagement initiatives as a member of our team.”

Rod Williams
Assistant Provost for Engagement

Williams most recently served as the project lead for Purdue’s Advancement of Research Impact in Society (PARIS), working with a team of research and engagement faculty and staff to enhance institutional capacity to support research impacts in communities. In his role as a provost fellow, Williams co-authored “The Guide: Documenting, Evaluating and Recognizing Engaged Scholarship.” His new role will continue that work with a specific focus on developing programs that support the scholarship of engagement.

In addition to Williams’ engagement work, his research interests include the ecology and conservation of amphibians and reptiles, specifically eastern hellbenders. He served as the vertebrate curator and coordinator of laboratory instruction at Purdue before joining the faculty in 2008.