3. Crossroads for Discussion on Important Issues of Our Time. Many among us frequently remark on the increasing presence of national
and global experts, panels, symposia, and the like at Wake Forest. We packed Wait Chapel this year for visitors from Peggy Noonan to
the three co-organizers of the Women’s March on Washington. Community and campus members alike turned out for symposia on
slowing aging’s effects on health; the nexus of science, spirituality, and wellness; and our complex environmental future, a panel fea-
turing both recent EPA deputy director Stan Meiburg (WFU ’75; new director of our Sustainability masters program) and chicken-
producer king Jim Perdue (WFU ’73; P ‘07). Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg chaired the mock judges’ panel at a Wake For-
est-cosponsored Venice event featuring a retrial of the Merchant of Venice’s Shylock (who fared better, 400 years on). And our Joel
Coliseum was the one location where Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama appeared together during the 2016 campaign. As one WFU
student put it during a recent student-government discussion: “I grew up in New York City and Washington, DC. Who knew I’d find the
most events to get excited about here in Winston-Salem?”
4. Educate the Whole Person; Help Students Find A Meaningful Place in the World. This affirmation of our Pro Humanitate commitment
similarly guides myriad WFU efforts. Our Thrive initiative has launched the first college-campus initiative to measure students’ wellbe-
ing: as we refine the survey and associated metrics, we will be better able to determine which of our interventions are most effective—
and can provide this Wake Forest-devised initiative to other campuses. Our OPCD team continues to ensure that students thrive in a
professional sense as well, and are unveiling a major new effort to provide their signature blend of personal development and career
services to WFU alumni. As for ‘meaningful places,’ our Divinity School was named for a third time as one of a very few ‘Seminaries
that Change the World.’
These highlights will, I hope, help demonstrate the continuing value of the organizing principles affirmed by our Trustees in our 2008
strategic plan remain. We continue to innovate in myriad ways; the Chronicle of Higher Education’s four-part series last month on “big
bets in higher education” featured us more than any other school, and indeed opened with the words “Wake Forest University.” Given
our strategic plan’s flexible but deeply-rooted precepts, it will remain a guiding star for several years to come.
Announcing Kami Chavis as Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives
As many of you know, Vice Provost Lynn Sutton will be retiring to Beaufort, NC, this June after her thirteen years of
transformational leadership at Wake Forest. Arriving here in 2004 as Dean of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library, Dr. Sutton
led the ZSR to be one of the most welcoming and intellectually curious places on campus, with a particular focus on
outreach to students and faculty. Thanks to her inspiring direction of our highly ZSR talented team, our library won the
national ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in 2011. I have been immeasurably grateful to work with Dr.
Sutton for five years—including the past three as Vice Provost, where she has enlivened our office with her singular
blend of creativity and conscience. Lynn’s collaborative spirit, uncommon dedication, and unerring good judgement
have left an indelible mark on our campus.
During this time of transition, I am delighted to announce that Kami Chavis, Professor and Associate Dean of Research
and Public Engagement in our Law School, has been appointed as Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives. She will
officially assume this role on July 1.
Professor Chavis joined the Wake Forest law faculty in 2006 after serving as an Assistant United States Attorney for four years. During her time at
Wake Forest, she has taught courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, and professional responsibility, while also serving as the Director of the
Criminal Justice Program. As founder and director of the program, Professor Chavis led the law school to national prominence in researching and
analyzing police and prosecutorial accountability and the U.S. criminal justice system. As Associate Dean of Research and Public Engagement, she has
helped to elevate the visibility and impact of her law faculty colleagues’ scholarship and public programs.
Professor Chavis has also served our university in manifold ways. In two prominent examples, she spent the past two academic years as chair of the
Police Accountability Task Force; in 2014-2015, she was a key member of the search committee for the Dean of the School of Law.
Professor Chavis is a noted teacher and scholar, frequently sought out by media for her expertise on the criminal justice system and police accounta-
bility. Her book, Criminal Law: Prosecution, Punishment and the Prevention of Crimes, was published last year to great acclaim. Given her blend of
university-wide engagement, School of Law leadership, and teacher-scholar excellence, I am confident that she will be a vital and valued member of
the Provost’s office team.
Rogan Kersh
Provost and Professor of Politics and International Affairs
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