Christopher Brown Appointed Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Christopher Brown as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. Chris, a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, currently serves as chair of the University-wide Tenure Review Advisory Committee. He has provided unerring leadership and good counsel in that capacity together with a deep sensitivity to the specific practices and norms of the many disciplines represented across Columbia’s campuses and to the standards of the University in the appointment and promotion of its faculty.

Chris will assume his new role on May 1. As Vice Provost, he will administer and develop the University’s policies governing the appointment of its academic officers, including faculty, officers of research and of the libraries, and student officers. He will manage Columbia’s tenure review system, and oversee the appointments of faculty and other academic officers by schools. He will serve as a resource for deans, chairs, and individual faculty on academic appointments, and will be the primary interpreter of our policies and other appointments for administrative offices such as General Counsel. The offices of both the Associate Provost for Academic Appointments and the Special Assistant to the Provost on Faculty Retirement will report to him in his new role.

Chris joined Columbia’s Department of History in 2007. His scholarship focuses on eighteenth-century British history, the early modern British empire, and the comparative history of slavery and abolition. He is the author of the prize-winning Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism along with numerous scholarly articles in leading historical journals, and is the co-editor of Arming Slaves from Classical Times to the Modern Age.

Chris will continue to devote half of his time to teaching and research and continue to lead the Society of Fellows in the Humanities. He joins a number of other recent faculty appointees who have taken up leadership roles in the Office of the Provost while at the same time continuing their teaching and research activities. By bringing in a range of senior scholars who divide their time between Low Library and their own schools and departments, I hope to ensure that the daily work of the office is informed by the concerns, priorities and perspectives of our faculty.

Other new faculty appointments in the past year include: Melissa Begg, Professor of Biostatistics, as Vice Provost for Educational Programs; SEAS Professor Soulaymane Kachani as Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning; and Dennis Mitchell, Associate Professor of Dental Medicine, as Senior Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion.

Chris will take over his responsibilities from Stephen Rittenberg, who has so ably served Columbia for over two decades as Vice Provost for Academic Administration and who will assume the new post of Special Advisor to the Provost.

Please join me in welcoming Chris as our new Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

John Coatsworth
Provost