University Update

May 29, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to provide an update about several upcoming organizational and leadership changes at UAlbany. Some of these changes have been the result of colleagues retiring or departing for new opportunities. Others are the result of our goal to create more effective and efficient organizational structures while focusing on long-term planning for the institution. In all cases, the decisions have been made only after careful consideration of how to best capitalize on opportunities to reduce redundancies, leverage synergies, and align functions in support of our strategic priorities, mission, and vision. Below is a summary of the major forthcoming changes.

Information Technology Services

Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Simeon Ananou has accepted the CIO position at the University of Vermont, effective July 1, 2018. Going forward, Information Technology Services will report to the Division of Finance and Administration. We will initiate a search for a new CIO immediately.

Enterprise Risk Management

We will establish a unit dedicated to enterprise-wide risk management and compliance. The establishment of the Office of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) will be charged with ensuring that our work proceeds with integrity and transparency; maintaining compliance with state and institutional guidelines; and creating processes that are effective and efficient.

ERM will report to Finance and Administration and will be led by Associate Vice President Kevin Wilcox, who will leave the University Controller position to take on this critical responsibility. As Controller, Kevin has served as UAlbany’s de facto risk manager, but the creation of an ERM unit with dedicated staff, work plans, and a guiding mission allows us to build a culture of risk management guided by a strong policy framework. I am pleased to announce that as Kevin transitions to his new role, Deputy Controller Dave Mason will be promoted to the position of Controller.

Office of Equity and Compliance

The Office of Equity and Compliance, which houses our Title IX responsibilities, will report to the Associate Vice President for Enterprise-wide Risk Management and Compliance. The Title IX component of this office will retain its direct line access to the Office of the President. As Chantelle Cleary (Assistant Vice President for Equity and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator) departed UAlbany earlier this month for a job opportunity at Cornell University, we will launch a search for a new leader for this unit. In the meantime, Deputy Title IX Coordinator Tricia George has agreed to serve as interim coordinator for this critical unit.

Office of General Counsel

John Reilly, Senior Counsel, has announced his retirement effective later this summer. I am very pleased to announce, after conversations with the SUNY Office of General Counsel, that Janet Thayer, our current Associate Counsel, will be UAlbany’s new Senior Counsel. 

Other Leadership Transitions

  • Laura Schweitzer, Vice President for Health Sciences, will be retiring from the University in September 2018. Her academic program development functions will transition to the Office of the Provost and the School of Public Health.
  • Sheila Seery has been promoted from Associate Vice President to Vice President for Government and Community Relations. In addition, we have expanded her portfolio to include the Office for Public Engagement, led by Executive Director Alfredo Medina, Jr. While reporting to Sheila, the Office for Public Engagement will also continue to work with the Provost and our faculty in pursuing our strategic priority of Engagement and Service. These changes acknowledge the critical role that Sheila’s portfolio plays across our strategic priorities; the important synergies that exist between her office and the Office for Public Engagement; and our focus on developing innovative, effective, and efficient processes while at the same time reducing some redundancies.

As we previously announced, prior to the abovementioned changes, the position of Vice President for Public Relations and Marketing was eliminated as this unit was integrated with the Division of University Advancement. The Vice President Position for Compliance was also eliminated and these functions will now reside within the ERM area. Consequently, the President’s Executive Council has been restructured as four (4) vice president positions will have been eliminated by the end of the summer; one (1) vice president has been added through the promotion of an already existing member of the President’s Executive Council.

College and School Leadership Transitions

Rockefeller College: Karl Rethemeyer, who has been serving as interim dean, is now officially the Dean of the College, following a consultative process with the School’s faculty, led by the Provost.

School of Social Welfare: As you know, Dean Darrell Wheeler is stepping down at the end of June to take the position of Provost at Iona College. I am very pleased that Dr. Lynn Warner, who served as Interim Dean while Dr. Wheeler was Interim Provost, will return to the role of dean on a permanent basis, effective July 1, 2018, also following a consultative process with the School’s faculty, led by the Provost.

School of Business: As was announced last week, we are very pleased that Nilanjan Sen will be joining us as Dean on August 15th.  Dr. Sen is currently Associate Dean in the School of Business at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and brings to us a proven track record as a senior academic leader in one of the top business schools in the world.

School of Education: Dr. Robert Bangert-Drowns has announced that he will be stepping down this summer. Provost Stellar has initiated discussions with the School of Education faculty to appoint an interim Dean, and we plan to launch a national search this fall.

The vice presidents, the deans, and I will consider other organizational changes as we move forward with the implementation of the Strategic Plan and focus on other critical administrative areas for UAlbany. Our goal is to maintain a senior administrative structure that is nimble and effective and allows us to address our Core Priorities.

Please join me in thanking our departing colleagues for their great service to our institution, and help me welcome and express our deepest appreciation to those who have taken on new responsibilities as part of these administrative changes.

As always, I look forward to working collaboratively with all of you to enhance, strengthen, and build this great institution. Have a safe, happy, and productive summer.


Signature of Havidan Rodriguez

Havidán Rodríguez