Lynch Takes Over as University Provost

Lisa Lynch
Mike Lovett
Lisa Lynch
Internationally renowned economist Lisa Lynch has been named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Brandeis.

The Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy and the former dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Lynch is now the university’s chief academic officer and the administration’s second-ranking member. She began her new role at the end of October.

As provost, Lynch oversees many of the university’s senior officers, including the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Heller School, and Brandeis International Business School, and the vice president for the Rabb School of Continuing Studies.

The registrar, student academic services, the chief information officer, and library and technology services also report to the provost, as do the directors of the Rose Art Museum, the Office of the Arts, and more than 30 research centers and institutes.

Lynch succeeds Steven A.N. Goldstein ’78, MA’78, who announced last spring his intention to step down as provost. Goldstein remains a senior vice president and special adviser to the president.

In announcing Lynch’s appointment, President Frederick Lawrence said, “Lisa brings to the provost position a unique set of qualities and achievements, including deep intellectual curiosity, success in senior leadership positions in academia and the government, and a proven ability to articulate and implement strategic vision, which will enable her to be highly effective in this critical role.”

The chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor during the Clinton administration, Lynch is an internationally recognized scholar on employment issues. She was the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston board of directors from 2007 to 2009, and she recently completed a term as president of the Labor and Employment Relations Association.

After being appointed Heller dean in 2008, Lynch increased the school’s student financial support and fostered greater interaction among faculty, research staff and students. She also led the creation of the school’s strategic plan, which includes a diversity-enhancement initiative to develop programs, policies and procedures that will permanently embed equity, inclusion and diversity into the fabric of Heller’s academic and work environment.

“Advancing diversity is something that I have been engaged in throughout my professional career,” Lynch says. “I do not believe a university can claim to be academically excellent if it does not advance diversity and promote social inclusion. This will be an important priority for me at Brandeis in my new role as provost.”

Other key priorities, she says, will be identifying resources that support the university’s key goals, looking for innovations that allow Brandeis to strengthen its academic excellence, and articulating the choices the university must make if it is to follow a financially responsible budget.

“We have a record of extraordinary accomplishments in our educational programs, scholarship and artistic expression,” Lynch says. “But as a relatively small, young and underendowed research university, we face hurdles other institutions do not. We are audacious in our goals but constrained by our financial means. Ultimately, Brandeis will succeed by the choices we make in how we invest in the excellence of our academic enterprise.”

Brandeis’ size — in combination with the energy of its faculty — actually facilitates innovation, Lynch says. She points to the strong ties between research and teaching at the undergraduate level, and the way the professional schools are being integrated into the undergraduate liberal-arts programs.

A resident of Newton, Mass., Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Wellesley College, and an MS and PhD in economics from the London School of Economics.

Prior to coming to Heller, she served on the faculty at Tufts, MIT, The Ohio State University and the University of Bristol. She publishes extensively on such issues as the impact of technological change and organizational innovation on productivity and wages, and the school-to-work transition.

She’s happy to call Brandeis home. “I cherish how we prize intellectual inquiry, and relish debate and discussion,” she says. “And I see a deep commitment by faculty, students and staff to thinking about others before self, and to improving the state of the world. This is something Brandeis has held as a core value since its inception — and it shows.”