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Embracing the uniqueness of the university

New deputy provost attracted to ASU by the power of the school's mission


A photograph of Stefanie Lindquist
May 23, 2016

Stefanie Lindquist enjoyed perhaps the most convincing job recruitment visit possible at Arizona State University, and she wasn’t applying for anything.

Lindquist, dean of the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs, spent two days in March shadowing ASU President Michael Crow as part of the Millennium Leadership Initiative sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Although the program staff usually chooses a mentor for each MLI fellow, Lindquist specifically requested Crow.

This week she was named ASU’s new deputy provost and vice president for academic affairs.

She tried to describe a single moment from the visit that stuck in her brain, and later led to her applying for the No. 2 slot in the provost’s office, but she couldn’t narrow her answer down to just one.

She watched:

  • The town hall with Crow on the Polytechnic campus with students, including some from other campuses linked by video, offering creative suggestions for lighting improvements or for composting at university restaurants and dining halls.
  • Crow making sure that an engineering student he met in a dining hall emailed details about the course he was having trouble getting into.
  • The high-level discourse of a graduate course, team-taught with one professor Skyping in from Washington, D.C., looking at technological advancements that have changed public policy and social structure.
  • Phoenix architects talking urban design and underscoring how integral the university has become to the community’s and the state’s identity and development.

“What struck me was the singularity, if you will, of the university community’s understanding of the mission, from the administration through the faculty to the students,” Lindquist said. “They completely embraced the uniqueness of their university’s mission, the access to higher education that wasn’t there in previous generations, and the excitement associated with the research being performed there.”

Mark Searle, executive vice president and university provost, said Lindquist immediately rose high in the national search for his new deputy because of her breadth of experience as a professor, a lawyer and an administrator and her demonstrated success in quickly stepping up to greater responsibility. She served as interim dean and helped reestablish calm at the University of Texas’ law school in 2011 when the dean was suddenly forced to resign. Her appointment at ASU includes serving as a Foundation Professor of law and political science.

“Stefanie knows the challenges of the classroom and the countless interoperating parts that a university leader must keep running efficiently,” Searle said. “And she brings to ASU a personal enthusiasm for education’s ability to raise an individual’s socioeconomic status. That drive is essential as she helps our efforts to grow our enrollment, raise our retention rates and recruit top tenured and tenure-track faculty.”

Lindquist clerked for a federal Court of Appeals judge and worked as a government contracts litigator in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. She taught at Georgia, Vanderbilt and USC’s Gould School of Law, in addition to Texas’ law school.

At Georgia, Provost Pamela Whitten sent a memo to leadership there this week praising Lindquist for elevating instruction and research, including creating a new Scholar in Residence Program and a joint Applied Politics program with the journalism school. She also helped launch the UGA Women’s Leadership Initiative focused on support for women’s advancement in university administration.

Lindquist, a military history buff, has visited every major Civil War battlefield east of the Mississippi. For conflicts and challenges of today, she takes a lawyer’s deliberative approach and said she wields a keen sense of the varied interests of the university’s constituencies as she approaches a decision.

“I try to think about each decision’s ripple effects on our accessibility to students, on faculty, on donors and alumni,” she said. “At UGA I have worked to establish a non-hierarchical environment, a welcoming environment, in hopes that people will feel comfortable telling me when things are working and — perhaps more importantly — when they are not.”

Lindquist takes her new post on Sept. 1.

Top photo: Stefanie Lindquist with students at the University of Georgia. Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia

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