Chemistry Professor Tom Stephenson Named New Provost

Alisa Giardinelli

Chemistry Professor Thomas 
Stephenson Named New Provost

by Nancy Nicely
2/1/2011

Tom Stephenson
Thomas Stephenson, James H. Hammons Professor of Chemistry

President Rebecca Chopp announced today the appointment of Thomas Stephenson, James H. Hammons Professor of Chemistry, as the College's next provost. He will assume his new position on July 1.

In a message to the community, Chopp noted that Stephenson will bring to the post "a wealth of knowledge about Swarthmore, significant administrative experience, practical wisdom, and an abiding respect for Swarthmore's values." She also extended her "deepest appreciation for Connie Hungerford's exceptional leadership as provost during this last decade, providing, as she has, wise and steady counsel on curricular and faculty matters." Hungerford, Mari S. Michener Professor of Art History, will return as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Art, where she specializes in 19th century French painting.

Stephenson, who has been a member of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 1985, earned a B.S. at Furman University and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He has served as chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and as associate provost for Information Technology at Swarthmore as well as serving on the Council on Educational Policy, Committee on Promotion and Tenure, Committee on Faculty Procedures, and the Ad Hoc Financial Planning Committee, among many other college committees. Stephenson is also the recipient of numerous honors including the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award and the Eugene M. Lang Faculty Fellowship.

The Provost is the principal academic officer of the College, overseeing the curriculum and the faculty. All academic departments report to the Provost, as do the Library, Athletics, and Information Technology Services. The Provost chairs the Council on Educational Policy and the Curriculum Committee and is a member of the Committee on Faculty Procedures and the Committee on Promotion and Tenure, among others. S/he works with department chairs on appointments, reappointments, and tenure and promotion decisions; develops budgets for the academic programs; provides faculty with opportunities for professional development as scholars and teachers; and proposes, evaluates, and implements curricular changes.