Sterk Replaces Lewis as Next University Provost

Claire Sterk will assume the role of provost, the chief academic advisor of the University, on Feb. 2.

Sterk became Emory’s senior vice provost for academic affairs in 2005 and has been serving as acting provost since November.

Her predecessor, Earl Lewis, left the University to become president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, according to a Jan. 11 University press release.

University President James W. Wagner appointed a 16-member search advisory committee for a new provost late last spring.

After the committee presented him with four finalists in November, Wagner chose Sterk and confirmed his decision with the Board of Trustees, according to head of the committee and Candler School of Theology Jan Love.

According to Love, the committee was looking for a candidate who possessed strong leadership skills and who was also held in high regard as a scholar, effective administrator and teacher.

Sterk rose to the top of a competitive pool of candidates, according to Love.

As provost, Sterk envisions herself working closely with the deans and faculty in order to “guide Emory to academic excellence that will have a positive impact on the world,” she said.

She said she plans to focus Emory’s future on creating a unified university with a “commitment to strive toward eminence, enhancing faculty governance and shared responsibility, strengthening our global strategy, claiming the liberal arts … and, last but not least, ensuring the financial well-being of the university.”

Specifically, Sterk mentioned making sure that the University’s scholarship and financial aid policies ensure that the University has a competitive and diverse population of students.

According to Sterk, the most important quality she brings to the position of provost is this plan to prepare the University for the future during a time of change in both higher education and society as a whole.

She also said that she felt that her listening skills, tolerance and belief in shared governance and made her an ideal candidate for the position of provost, along with her accountability and commitment to fairness and integrity

Additionally, Sterk enjoys motivating others to achieve their full potential and is an effective communicator, she said.

Sterk said she became interested in the position of provost due to the numerous opportunities to put Emory’s visions statement into action and accomplish the goals of “transformation and courageous teaching, learning, research, health care and social action.”

She said that her time serving as acting provost cemented her enthusiasm for the position.

Sterk, who has previously served as the department chair of behavioral science and health education and associate dean in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, said these experiences have provided her with a deep understanding of Emory’s academic culture.

She added that she thought these experiences prepared her well for the position of provost.

According to Love, the fact that Sterk has worked at Emory for years has provided her with a head start on her position because she is already very familiar and aquainted with the University.

Love said she was eager to see Sterk implement her vision for the University when she assumes the position of provost.

— Contact Elizabeth Howell at 

ehowel5@emory.edu