To the Campus Community:
When President Bob Barchi joined Rutgers in September 2012, he signaled his intent to create the position of provost on each of the campuses as a critical administrative resource for helping to advance our academic quality and reputation.
As you know, Rutgers has undergone an unprecedented transformation since President Barchi’s arrival. During the rapid changes of the past year, we have not forgotten the need for this important position.
I am pleased to report that Rayman Solomon, dean of the School of Law–Camden, has agreed to serve as Rutgers–Camden’s provost for an 18-month appointment effective January 1, 2014. In this capacity, Ray will report to me and work with the deans to ensure that our curricula meet and exceed all rigorous standards. He will support the deans’ efforts to hire, tenure, and promote world-class faculty whose research, creativity, and teaching abilities best serve our students, our scholarly disciplines, and our region. Moreover, he will serve as a primary point of contact connecting our campus with university-wide academic functions.
Additionally, I share the welcome news that John Oberdiek has agreed to serve as acting dean of the School of Law. His two-year appointment in this role begins July 1, 2014. Ray will continue to serve as dean of the law school through June 30, 2014.
We all know Ray to be a truly collaborative colleague with an intuitive understanding of the strengths of our campus and the standards set by the university. Since 1998, his leadership has helped our School of Law to post remarkable achievements in terms of faculty research and productivity. As a result, our law students have reported successes in terms of career advancement and their own scholarly accomplishments. As interim executive dean of the Schools of Business and Law, he deftly guided these two professional schools toward continued excellence as we searched for a new business dean. His creativity and insights are respected across the university and play a significant role in helping to develop university policies.
On a more personal level, I have relied upon Ray’s thoughtful counsel and guidance since I joined the Rutgers–Camden community. I will continue to do so as he assumes this new role.
The position of “provost” has a challenging history at Rutgers. Some of you may recall that the position of “chancellor” previously held the title of “provost” as the result of outdated nomenclature that failed to recognize the true responsibilities of the campus chancellors. Rutgers changed that title to “chancellor” in 2008. Across most of higher education, the provost appropriately fulfills the generalized role of “chief academic officer,” which is the capacity envisioned by both President Barchi and me.
In his current role as vice dean of the School of Law, John Oberdiek is regarded highly for his critical insights and creativity in addressing the profound challenges confronting legal education. His commitment to the development of our students and the strength of our faculty is unwavering, as is his dedication to evolving Rutgers Law to advance all of our law school’s constituencies.
A noted scholar in the areas of legal philosophy and tort law, John joined the Rutgers–Camden community in 2004. He served as the law school’s director of faculty research during 2011 and was named the school’s first vice dean in 2012. As a professor in our law school, he holds a secondary appointment with the Department of Philosophy on the New Brunswick campus and co-directs the Rutgers Institute of Law and Philosophy.
Both Ray and John will remain focused on the creation of a unified Rutgers Law program with locations on the Camden and Newark campuses, a bold initiative that promises to transform legal education at Rutgers.
Please join me in congratulating Ray Solomon and John Oberdiek and in offering them our full support as they assume these important roles on behalf of our campus.
Wendell E. Pritchett, J.D., Ph.D.