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University Welcomes New Interim Provost

Risa Dickson

The University of La Verne welcomes Risa Dickson, PhD, to serve as interim provost, while it seeks its next permanent academic affairs leader.  

 “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the University of La Verne community in a shared mission, collaborating and creating structures that will help a new leader transition and ensure that the institution is well placed to evolve and meet the needs of students well into the future,” said Dickson, who was selected earlier this month from The Registry, a national organization that places interim senior university academic administrators.  

 Following an extensive career in higher education, Dickson has held Registry appointments as the interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs for the University of Toledo.and interim vice president for academic affairs for Palo Alto University. 

During her career, Dickson served in a variety of leadership roles, including as vice president for academic planning and policy at the University of Hawai‘i. She is no stranger to Southern California, having also held several leadership roles during her 24-year tenure at California State University, San Bernadino, including associate provost, executive assistant to the president, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters. She is an American Council on Education Fellow, and her research has focused on student recruitment and retention, fundraising, and tuition-based budgeting.  

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Dickson back to the region and look forward to her extensive expertise in creating shared governance and strategic academic structures, developing program review and prioritization, and supporting academic research, scholarship, and grant projects, especially in institutions that serve first-generation students and underserved communities,” said University of La Verne President Pardis Mahdavi, PhD. 

The Office of the Provost  oversees key areas of the university, including academic affairs, student affairs, the library, online programs, regional campuses, campus health and safety, athletics, housing, institutional research, and the office of the registrar. The former provost resigned last year.  The university is currently holding listening sessions to help inform a nationwide search. Recruitment is expected to run through the spring with an appointment made by early June.