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The Source

Comings and Goings Update: Mervyn Brockett retires, Provost office reorganizes

June 03, 2013

  • Provost Jane Atkinson
  • Director of Institutional Research Mark Figueroa

With the retirement of Associate Provost Mervyn Brockett this month, the Office of the Provost is undergoing a major reorganization.

Brockett joined the college in 1990 as assistant vice president for academic affairs, and since that time he has played a vital role in the areas of planning, budgeting, institutional research, and enrollment management.

“I’ve been lucky enough to work with Mervyn on several projects, but even for those who don’t collaborate directly with him, his work affects their ability to succeed,” said Lisa Meyer, dean for enrollment and communications. “Mervyn has played an integral role in providing the information necessary to craft budgets, improve retention, and advocate on behalf of the college to donors and other outside organizations. He has the ability to notice fine detail while keeping the big picture in mind. He is smart, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and kind.”

The Source sat down with Provost Jane Atkinson to learn more about Brockett’s departure, the strategy behind the staffing changes, and what’s in store for the year ahead.

What have Brockett’s 23 years of service meant for Lewis & Clark?

Mervyn’s superb abilities in the areas of quantitative analysis and modeling are matched by his outstanding gift for expressing complex ideas in elegant and lucid prose. He has worked tirelessly to track and analyze institutional trends, develop forecasts, and highlight issues and choices for institutional decision makers. His work has formed the basis for major planning efforts within the College of Arts and Sciences and across the institution.

For two decades he was responsible for designing the financial aid strategy used to allocate institutional grants to undergraduate students. He streamlined administrative processes to improve service to students. For example, in the mid-1990s he created the Administrative Cluster, a self-directed work team that continues to this day to coordinate vital institutional services for students in all three schools. He was responsible for designing the financial aid strategy used to allocate institutional grants to undergraduate students. And he has always been willing to step in quietly to help when needed—serving twice as interim registrar for the College of Arts and Sciences, helping to package awards in financial aid, and teaching a course on the Old Testament (with no remuneration) when it needed to be taught.

This coming fall, Mervyn will be taking 24 undergraduate students to India for the semester. He has asked that any campus celebration be delayed until his return next winter.

How will the Office of the Provost be reorganized when Brockett retires?

Mark Figueroa, director of institutional research, will assume the title and responsibilities of associate provost for institutional research and planning. Two new positions have been designed to support the institutional research and planning functions. They will also provide critical support to CAS admissions and enrollment management, including the undergraduate retention initiative. These changes are being made at no additional cost to the College.

The first position is an associate director for institutional research. We sought an experienced institutional researcher who could help us strengthen the culture of data-informed decision making at Lewis & Clark. We were fortunate to find Reneé Orlick, who holds a Ph.D. in college and university leadership from Colorado State University. She has worked at Alfred University, Trinity (Washington) University, and Colorado State. She will join us in early July.

The second position is that of enrollment management analyst, with special responsibilities in the area of data reporting and analysis. This time we were fortunate to find an internal candidate: Marily Quesnel, who has served for the past 13 years as an information analyst in Information Technology. Prior to that, she worked at University of Portland, where she also earned an M.B.A. She assumes her new duties on June 3.

In what ways will Mark Figueroa’s role change when he transitions to associate provost for institutional research and planning?

You’ll notice that the terms “institutional research” and “planning” are joined together in Mark’s new title. This is a highly important change that underscores the point that effective planning must be closely linked and well-informed by strong and ongoing research. 

Since his arrival at Lewis & Clark in November 2011, Mark has worked closely with Professor Rob Kugler, director of strategic initiatives, in developing our institutional strategic plan. To advance the goals set forth in our plan, we need a robust system of ongoing data collection and analysis to guide our efforts and monitor our progress. Mark will be leading that effort.

Merging the directorship of institutional research with the title of associate provost highlights the institutional significance of Mark’s role. Mark has institutional responsibility for the accuracy and integrity of the data that we maintain and provide to a variety of external entities, including the Department of Education. He also has responsibility for monitoring the surveys that rank colleges and universities and for determining how and whether Lewis & Clark will participate in these efforts.

Mark will also assume the role of accreditation liaison officer to the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, a role which Mervyn Brockett held for many years. Mark will seek to streamline our ongoing assessment efforts in ways that will support both strategic planning and accreditation work.

What are the priorities of the Office of the Provost for the year ahead?

Our goals for the 2013-14 academic year include the following:

  • Bring together our new team to provide support for major institutional and school initiatives, including implementation of the institutional strategic plan, the CAS strategic plan, and undergraduate admissions and student retention initiatives.
  • Strengthen our assessment of educational outcomes for purposes of internal planning and external communication to our many audiences.
  • Continue to identify and advance new opportunities for cross-school collaboration and economies.
  • Work with the deans to explore and develop new revenue sources.
  • Prepare the institution’s report on resources and capacity, and a revised report on mission, core themes, and expectations for submission to the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities as required to maintain our institutional accreditation.
  • Coordinate the Stafford Centennial celebration and explore ideas for observing other significant milestones, including the college’s sesquicentennial in 2017.

Comings and Goings Update

The following people either are new to campus or have a new job title:

Kari Baxter, business law program coordinator, Business Law Programs; Steven Goebel, director, Business Law Programs; Seneca Gray, law registrar, Law Academic Affairs; Tiffany Henning, degree audit and transfer credit coordinator, CAS Registrar’s Office; Zachary Holz, administrative coordinator, Environmental Studies; Robin Jarecki, associate registrar, CAS Registrar’s Office; Julie Landrum, development associate, National Crime Victim Law Institute; Lisa Milner, cashier and accounts receivable specialist, Student and Departmental Account Services; Mark Pietrok, interim athletic director, Physical Education and Athletics; Zachariah Selley, assistant archivist, Watzek Library; Jeremy Skinner, special collections and archives librarian, Watzek Library; Bilegee “Billy” Walker, executive assistant to the vice president and treasurer, Office of Business and Finance; and Miranda Wood, administrative specialist, Environmental Studies.

The following people have left Lewis & Clark. Here’s wishing them good luck in their new adventures:

Kathy Anderson, administrative coordinator, Economics, International Affairs, and Political Economy; Theresa Edwards, administrative assistant, Boley Library; Greta Glover, HHMI postdoctoral fellow, Biology; Jonathan Hoffer, serials assistant, Boley Library; Vanessa Smith, lab assistant, Biology; and Margaret Thomson, department specialist, Law Alumni Relations.

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