Melissa Begg Appointed Vice Provost for Educational Programs

May 29, 2014

Dear Colleagues:
I am pleased to announce that Melissa Begg, currently the Vice Dean for Education at the Mailman School of Public Health and Professor of Biostatistics at CUMC, will take on the role of Vice Provost for Educational Programs as of July 1st, 2014, while continuing as a professor in public health.

In her Vice Provost role, Melissa will advance interschool and interdisciplinary educational initiatives.  She will monitor the University’s academic programs and will be responsible for developing and implementing education program proposals, including distance and continuing education.  Melissa will approve and oversee educational partnerships with US or foreign universities as well as contractual agreements with other institutions where students fulfill part of their educational program requirements.  As Vice Provost, she will also direct the accreditation of the University by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a complex effort that we are obligated to undertake every ten years.

Melissa came to Columbia in 1989 after earning her doctorate in biostatistics at Harvard. Her scholarly contributions have focused on the areas of oral health, mental health, and statistical methods for analyzing clustered data. She developed two new training programs for the biostatistics department: the Clinical Research Methods track and the Patient Oriented Research track.  She became the co-director of CUMC’s Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (funded in part by a Clinical and Translational Science Award, or CTSA, from the National Institutes of Health) in 2006 and will continue in that role. She has served as PI for two diversity programs at the School: the BEST Program for undergraduates, and the PRIDE Program for junior faculty. In 2006, she received both the Mailman School’s Teaching Award from the graduating class and the University’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching. While at Mailman, Melissa has led the implementation of a dramatically redesigned curriculum for the School’s largest degree program, the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.

Melissa will take over the portion of Stephen Rittenberg’s responsibilities relating to academic programming.  As I noted in my spring update distributed at the end of February, Stephen plans to retire at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.  With a year of overlap, Melissa will have the opportunity to work closely with Stephen to learn about the diversity of academic programs throughout the University. Together they will determine a plan in the coming months to transition Stephen’s responsibilities for academic programs to Melissa.  Until you hear from them, please continue to contact Stephen with any questions regarding educational programming. 

Please join me in welcoming Melissa as our new Vice Provost for Educational Programs.

John H. Coatsworth