After an extensive national search that yielded a deep pool of highly qualified candidates, Bucknell University President John Bravman announced that Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, Gonzaga University’s dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, will be Bucknell’s next provost. Mermann-Jozwiak’s extensive mix of academic and administrative experience were among the factors that impressed the approximately 90 Bucknell students, faculty and staff with whom she met during the search process.
“In addition to her broad and exceptional experience, Elisabeth brings to Bucknell a strong belief in and passion for the transformative power of the type of undergraduate education Bucknell provides its students,” Bravman said. “Her well-informed perspectives will no doubt add great value to our community and accelerate our forward momentum toward an even stronger Bucknell.”
“There were myriad reasons why I was attracted to this opportunity, including Bucknell’s commitment to academic excellence, the value the community places on an educational experience steeped in the liberal arts, and the University’s ongoing efforts around issues of inclusiveness,” Mermann-Jozwiak said. “The more I engaged with members of the Bucknell community, the more I recognized and appreciated how the values of the institution perfectly align with my own values and experiences.”
A Collaborative Leader
A professor of English and Women’s & Gender Studies, Mermann-Jozwiak holds a doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which she earned after receiving a Master of Arts in English and theology from the University of Cologne in Germany. She joined Gonzaga as the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences in 2013. Before that, she was associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Haas Professor of English at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
As dean of arts & sciences at Gonzaga, Mermann-Jozwiak oversees 19 academic departments, 260 full-time faculty and staff, Gonzaga’s Jundt Art Museum and two centers that she established: Gonzaga’s Center for Public Humanities & Digital Humanities Initiative and the Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry. During the 2017-18 academic year, Mermann-Jozwiak served as Gonzaga’s interim academic vice president, a role in which she provided leadership and oversight for a number of additional academic and administrative units while also making key contributions to the university’s recent strategic planning efforts.
“Throughout our multiple conversations, Elisabeth displayed great enthusiasm and appreciation for a collaborative approach to leadership,” said Bucknell Faculty Chair William Kenny, who co-chaired the search with Bravman. “I'm sure that the Bucknell faculty will enjoy working with her as we not only address the challenges of the day, but also work to chart a path for Bucknell's longer-term future.”
“Under Elisabeth's leadership, Gonzaga's College of Arts & Sciences has experienced new energy and an affirmation of the value of the liberal arts and humanities,” added Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh. “She has demonstrated that she is an effective leader and senior administrator, and I am personally grateful for the many ways she has enriched our community. I am confident she will likewise play a significant and positive role as provost at Bucknell.”
Committed to Student Success
“Throughout my career at both Texas A&M University and Gonzaga University, I have been focused on creating opportunities for all students to succeed in college. For that purpose, I’ve worked with faculty and staff on incorporating high-impact practices, with a particular emphasis on providing opportunities for faculty-student research,” Mermann-Jozwiak said. “I’ve also been fortunate to work with very dedicated faculty on building new and interdisciplinary programs and centers, working on programming and designing new buildings, fundraising, and developing processes and procedures so that decision-making becomes more transparent.”
Mermann-Jozwiak is a member of the Committee on the Liberal Arts in the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences, the Spokane Arts Commission and the board of trustees of Humanities Washington, the state arm of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has also served on the Steering Committee of the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts.
Her publications include two books, Postmodern Vernaculars: Chicana Literature and Postmodern Rhetoric and Conversations with Mexican American Writers: Languages and Literatures in the Borderlands, as well as numerous articles on Chicana literature, feminist theory and popular culture.
Mermann-Jozwiak’s anticipated start date is July 1. Interim Provost Robert Midkiff will continue in the role until then, at which time he’ll reassume his position as vice provost, having strengthened his expanding portfolio with significant additional senior leadership responsibilities throughout this academic year.
“To nobody’s surprise, Robert has done remarkable work during his time as interim provost, meeting and exceeding the charge to continue advancing the institution during this time of transition,” Bravman said. “On behalf of the Bucknell community, I extend my sincere gratitude to him. Our University is stronger today thanks in no small part to his numerous contributions, and I look forward to his continued leadership and partnership in the years ahead.”
Mermann-Jozwiak said that she and her husband, Joe Jozwiak — self-described outdoors people — are looking forward to relocating to the Susquehanna River Valley. They have two sons: Andreas, who is pursuing his doctorate at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Daniel, who is working toward a law degree at the University of Denver. Mermann-Jozwiak said she’s also looking forward to being closer to her extended family, all of whom live in Germany.