Incoming provost talks goals, excitement of joining UConn community in interview

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Carl Lejuez is the new UCONN Provost. Pictures provided by Lejuez to  UCONN Today .

Carl Lejuez is the new UCONN Provost. Pictures provided by Lejuez to UCONN Today.

Incoming University of Connecticut Provost Carl Lejuez said he is excited to join what he calls his “family college” and do his part to better the university through the goals and ambitions set forth by President Thomas Katsouleas.

“I’m coming to UConn because I want to be here,” Lejuez said. “I’ve always had this special affiliation with UConn. In fact, I even have UConn gear.”

Lejuez, who is slated to take over the role of provost on May 29, comes to UConn from the University of Kansas, where he was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences since 2016 and served as Interim Provost from April 2018 to March 2020.  

Lejuez takes over for Interim Provost John Elliot, who will be returning to his role as Dean of the School of Business. Prior to Elliot’s interim stint, the Provost was Craig Kennedy, who held the post from April 2018 to March 2019.

“I like being a provost. I did the job at the University of Kansas,” Lejuez said. “I was looking for provost jobs because I feel like it is a job where you need to roll up your sleeves and you’re really responsible to everyone.”

Lejuez said his three big initiatives align perfectly with those of President Thomas Katsouleas. He hopes to better “life transformative education” and continue improving the overall student experience. He said he also plans to work closely with Kastouleas, state leaders and outside donors to help Katsouleas’ goal of doubling research in the next 10 years become a reality.

“We have an incredibly strong Office of Research here at UConn and I think we will be able to do some really great things in terms of being able to greatly increase the amount of research that’s happening on campus and also the level of funded research,” Lejuez said. 

Lejuez called this effort an “economic engine” for the state of Connecticut.

“The third thing is diversity, equity and inclusion. I spent a considerable amount of time at the University of Kansas … really trying to focus on the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

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I’m really excited … there’s so many great things here to latch on and work with.

In October, Katsouleas announced the search for a Chief Diversity Officer after two students were arrested for shouting racial slurs earlier in the month.

Unlike in past years, the search for the newest provost was done by a search committee, overseen by Neag School of Education Professor Sandra Chafouleas. 

“The new provost will play a crucial role in developing, implementing and evaluating a new academic plan,” Chafouleas told The Daily Campus when the search began. “Thus, it is important that the committee find a strong academic leader who brings capacity to take multiple perspectives on important issues when selecting paths forward.”

Lejuez received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emory University and both his master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology from West Virginia University. Before going to Kansas, Lejuez was a professor at the University of Maryland for 15 years specializing in addiction research.

“I’m really excited … there’s so many great things here to latch on and work with,” Lejuez said.

Related Content:

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Luke Hajdasz is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at luke.hajdasz@uconn.edu.

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