The new provost, Michael Smyer, right, met with faculty and staff

at a Bucknell reception on Friday, April 25.

Posted April 23, 2008

Updated April 28, 2008

LEWISBURG, Pa. - Dr. Michael A. Smyer, an accomplished teacher, scholar and administrator who has served as co-director of the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College since 2005, has been named provost at Bucknell University, Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell announced Wednesday, April 23.

Smyer will be Bucknell's second highest-ranking academic official when he begins his duties at Bucknell July 1. His responsibilities will include overseeing academic and student affairs and related programs.

"Dr. Smyer's academic accomplishments, natural leadership abilities, strong interpersonal skills, and depth of knowledge bring to Bucknell a provost of outstanding capability," President Mitchell said. "His demonstrated commitment to liberal arts education, scholarship, and research will serve Bucknell well. I am grateful to the search committee, and the leadership of its chair, Professor Maria Antonaccio, for the outstanding job they did leading this national search and bringing to us an individual of Dr. Smyer's skill and commitment, and to all those across the campus community who participated in the search process."

30 years of experience
Smyer, 57, has more than 30 years of experience in higher education both as a faculty member and an administrator.

"I am thrilled to be asked to serve as the next provost for Bucknell University, one of the finest undergraduate liberal arts institutions in our country," Smyer said. "The strengths of the faculty, the caliber of the students, the institutional focus on comprehensive undergraduate education, and the important series of bold initiatives underway make this a unique opportunity. I look forward to being part of this remarkable institution of teaching and scholarship and to contributing in any way I can to the success of its faculty, the learning and living experience of its students, and the considerable stature Bucknell enjoys nationwide."

Prior to his most recent position at Boston College, Smyer served as dean of the college's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from 1994 to 2007 and as associate vice president for research from 1994 to 2005. As dean, he shared responsibility for approximately 400 faculty members in 21 departments in the humanities and social and natural sciences.

Undergraduate research program
At Boston College, Smyer has been a strong advocate for integrating research and student learning. He helped launch an undergraduate research apprenticeship program that supported students to work as faculty members' research assistants. That program now supports more than 300 students working with more than 200 faculty members.

Smyer earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Yale University in 1972 and a Ph.D. in personality and clinical psychology in 1977 from Duke University. His research interests include the impact of contexts on individuals' and families' adjustment to aging. His current work focuses on the impact of the workplace and flexible work options for older workers and their family members. He is the co-author of Aging and Mental Health (1999: Blackwell Publishers) and co-editor of Challenges of an Aging Society: Ethical Dilemmas, Political Issues (2007: Johns Hopkins University Press) and Changes in Decision-Making Capacity in Older Adults: Assessment and Intervention (2007: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).

He also taught for 17 years at Penn State University in State College, Pa.

Dr. Smyer is married to a psychologist, Dr. Pat Piper. They have two grown children, a son and a daughter, Brendan and Kyle Piper-Smyer.

National search
In October 2007, President Mitchell appointed a committee of faculty, students, and staff to lead this national search. The members of the search committee were Chair Maria Antonaccio, Religion; Nina Banks, Economics; Sally Koutsoliotas, Physics and Astronomy; Tony Massoud, Political Science; Mike Prince, Chemical Engineering; Tom Cassidy, associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Susan Hopp, dean of students; and Bill McLean '08.

Contact: Division of Communications

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