By Catherine Williams
Dr. Titilayo Ufomata, Provost and Dean of Faculty
Following a nationwide search that involved the input of the entire campus community, President Mark D. Gearan appointed Dr. Titilayo Ufomata Provost and Dean of Faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges beginning July 1, 2012. Currently the Associate Provost and Interim Director of Graduate Studies at Kentucky State University, Ufomata’s career spans three decades of scholarship in Linguistics, Africana and Gender Studies as well as an increasingly complex portfolio of administrative duties.
“Dr. Ufomata’s passion for the liberal arts, her global perspective, her commitment to the professional development of faculty, and her strong civic engagement make her a compelling appointment,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “The role of Provost and Dean of Faculty is among the most critical on a college campus so finding someone with Dr. Ufomata’s extensive experience and energetic approach has been ideal. I was gratified by the accomplished pool of candidates interested in the position and am thankful for the participation of our campus community throughout the entire search process.”
“I am so pleased to be joining Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” says Ufomata. “I have been impressed by the creative, forward-thinking community, by the strong academic commitment of faculty and students, the priority placed on civic engagement, and especially the dedication to internationalization. The liberal arts have the capacity to expand one’s cognitive map and to develop the whole person. Hobart and William Smith are doing that. I’m very excited for the work ahead.”
At Kentucky State University, a liberal arts institution of 2,800 students, Ufomata has successfully led a number of initiatives including co-chairing the University Task Force on student Success and Retention, revamping the academic advising program, acting as a team leader on BEAMS (Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students), chairing the Taskforce on Developmental Education, and leading the centennial reaffirmation process. She is currently chair of Kentucky State’s Graduate Council and Graduate Appeals Committee and serves on the University’s Strategic Planning Committee. She has been involved in every major curricular assessment and review since joining Kentucky State in 1998. A tenured Professor of Speech and Communication at Kentucky State in the Division of Fine Arts, in 2005 she was appointed Associate Provost.
Ufomata is an alumna of Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management, Hampton University’s Executive Leadership Summit, and Bryn Mawr’s HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) program designed to advance women leaders in higher education administration.
“It is my belief that Dr. Ufomata will be a transformational presence on campus,” says Thomas Drennen, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, who served on the selection committee. “She understands that internationalism needs to be a strong component of our education and is dedicated to growing global engagement opportunities. She also brings a fresh set of eyes to our reaccreditation process. She will be able to determine where we need to make positive changes and she has good ideas to get there.”
The author of a number of articles, Ufomata’s scholarship has focused on the intersection of language, immigration, identity and gender with a special emphasis on Africa. She is a reviewer of African Studies Review: A Journal of the African Studies Association and a member of the editorial boards of Irinkerindo: A Journal of African Immigration and Jenda: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. She is an associate of the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town and a laureate of the Gender Institute of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, Dakar, Senegal.
“I was very impressed with the creative way she thinks about issues,” says JoBeth Mertens, Associate Professor of Economics and Chair- Elect of the Committee on Faculty. “She has a good understanding of her role as Provost and Dean of Faculty. She will push and challenge us to think about the Colleges in new and innovative ways. It’s that kind of approach that I believe will lead us to a new level of excellence.”
Ufomata has twice been named a Faculty Fellow at Kentucky State, a meritorious appointment based on a faculty member’s record of teaching and work place excellence. In 2005, she received the Tom Joyner Hardest Working Faculty Award, and in 2006, her peers presented her with the Distinguished Professor Award recognizing her excellence in teaching and research. In 2010, Ufomata’s students acknowledged her dedication to teaching by making her an honorary charter member of the Nu Phi Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda national honors society for non- traditional students. The State of Kentucky recognized her commitment to community engagement in 2010 by commissioning her a Kentucky Colonel for honorable contribution to the State.
Born in Nigeria where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, Ufomata attended University College London where she earned a second master’s degree as well as a Ph.D. in Phonetics.
Ufomata succeeds Teresa Amott who was appointed President of Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. Professor of Economics Pat McGuire HON ’10 postponed his retirement to serve as Interim Provost and Dean of Faculty for the past year.
“Dr. Ufomata is a very collaborative leader who is interested in engaging others in conversation about solutions,” says McGuire. “She has a lively mind to deal with the complexity of issues at play and a broad understanding of the role of the liberal arts. I especially liked her open demeanor and the positive energy she will bring to the Colleges. I am delighted to place the responsibilities and challenges of the Office of Provost and Dean of Faculty in her very capable hands.”
“I remain very grateful to Pat for delaying his retirement to take on the role of Provost and Dean of Faculty,” says Gearan. “During the past year, Pat has shown his usual grace, integrity and humor. I thank him for his many years of service to the Colleges and for the advice and good counsel he has provided to me over the years.”
The Search Committee for the Provost and Dean of Faculty included: Eugen Baer, Dean of Hobart College and Professor of Philosophy; Sandy Bissell, Vice President for Human Resources; Martha Bond, Director of Grants; Meghan Brown, Assistant Professor of Biology; Fred Damiano, Chief Information Officer; Thomas Drennen, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies; Robert Flowers, Vice President for Student Affairs; Darrin Magee, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies; Gail Herman McGinn ’73, Member of the HWS Board of Trustees; Susanne McNally, Dean of William Smith College and Professor of History; Alejandra Molina, Director of Intercultural Affairs; Susan M. Pliner, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment; and Michael Tinkler, Associate Professor of Art and Architecture Studies.