By Ashley Wall
By Donald Halsing
Dr. Ellen Zimmerman, professor and chair of the sociology department, will serve as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs until Fall 2021, according to President F. Javier Cevallos.
Cevallos made the announcement in a campus-wide email Feb 27.
Zimmerman will replace former provost and vice president of academic affairs Angela Salas, who resigned her position on Feb 19.
Referring to Zimmerman, Cevallos said, “I have the highest confidence that she will be successful and help ensure a smooth transition moving forward,” Cevallos said in the email.
Zimmerman served as the University’s Dean of Academic Affairs from 2008-2010 and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2010-2015.
Cevallos said, “She helped oversee program reviews and progress tracking, annual reporting, accreditation progress, and new program development approval.
“She also advised on budgeting and planning, faculty hiring and professional development, course scheduling, and more. She taught at Framingham State University since 1990,” he added.
In an interview with The Gatepost, Zimmerman said, “I think it’s a very important position. The provost is responsible for the entire academic side of the University. Having that vacancy puts us at a disadvantage.
“I felt like it was important to step up and be available for that,” she added.
Zimmerman said her previous roles at FSU provide her with relevant experience for her new position.
“I think if I hadn’t had the previous experience, I might feel pretty intimidated.”
She said her familiarity with the University culture, faculty, and students will benefit her as provost.
“I feel very in-touch with my colleagues here, and I’ve worked with many colleagues on lots of different projects. I’m looking forward to continuing to do that, but in a new role.”
Zimmerman said she is looking forward to working with everyone across the University, including student government, in order to understand student concerns and interests.
“I’ve always had a strong interest in the academic programs at the University, what programs benefit students, and what students want and need from their academic experience.”
Zimmerman said her role as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs begins March 9. At that time, an interim chair, who has yet to be announced, will take over her responsibilities as chair of the sociology department.
In an email to The Gatepost, Cevallos wrote, “She [Zimmerman] brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position. I have a high level of confidence in her ability to bring stability to the Provost position during this transition and to help move the University forward in a positive direction.”
He added they will also be searching for a “permanent provost during the next academic year.”