Welcome Message from New Provost Beth Dobkin

Dear Members of the Saint Mary's Community,

As you start a new academic term, continue your winter quarter projects, or begin planning for the spring, I am starting a new adventure as your Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Thank you to all of you who have already given me a warm and supportive welcome. I'd like to extend that same welcome to all of you on behalf of this office, and to give you a general sense of the role I hope to play.

I come to Saint Mary's College after years of personal and professional growth in Catholic higher education. I was in no hurry to leave the warmth of San Diego, but I found a different kind of warmth and a compelling promise of achievement at SMC. I share your faith in the power of education to liberate, your commitment to student learning, and your desire for academic excellence. I am enthusiastic about helping you form and embrace a collective vision for the College's future.

As your Vice President for Academic Affairs, I am committed to strengthening the coordination of student learning in all of the places that it occurs. I will be an advocate for faculty, particularly in their pursuit of high quality teaching and distinctive scholarship. I will support inclusive excellence across campus, driven by my belief that understanding of and respect for diverse peoples and perspectives are prerequisites for true academic excellence.

As Provost, I must come to know and appreciate all aspects of the College, from processes for ordering pencils to articulating an academic vision consistent with the priorities detailed in our strategic plan. The role of provost, however, demands more than operational knowledge and management. I will be looking inward, helping the College generate responses to an increasingly complex world, one with regulatory and political challenges, changing financial landscapes, and increasingly diverse students, while also looking forward, and suggesting how we might strive to change that world.

Over the next several months, I hope you come to know and trust me with the responsibilities of academic leadership at Saint Mary's College. I invite you to share with me your aspirations and challenges. There will be many opportunities to talk, in many different settings. Please consider attending a social reception or two; I will be hosting the first of these this Wednesday at 3:00 in the Zocchi Lounge. I have also asked my staff to arrange weekly lunches with small groups of faculty over the course of the term, and I will be attending Academic Senate meetings and other campus events. Above all, you are always welcome to call, come by, or drop me an email at

Through these conversations, I hope to gather the insights and understanding that will assist me in developing a story of Saint Mary's future, one that will guide our academic priorities and planning.

I look forward to meeting and working with you.