University of Connecticut Dramatic Arts department head Michael Bradford has been hired as the Vice Provost for Faculty, Staff and Student Development at the University.
Bradford, who has been a UConn faculty member since 2000, is a playwright by trade and a Navy veteran. He attended UConn Avery Point and worked at Electric Boat in Groton before being hired as a professor at Avery Point.
The position, which helps to bridge the gap between students, faculty and staff, requires a good listener and problem solver, Bradford said.
“You can’t talk to one cohort without really affecting another cohort,” Bradford said. “I’m happy the position is structured in such a way that I can be in conversation with everyone involved.”
UConn Provost Carl Lejuez was on the search committee that selected Bradford.
“You want to know everyone on your team has the same north star,” Lejuez said. “One of service, one of humility, one of really trying to understand that the focus of our office is about truly supporting students, faculty and staff in reaching their potential and being successful, and Michael fits that perfectly.”
Both Lejuez and Bradford admit that a playwright Vice Provost at a top 25 public university looking to double research over the next decade is an interesting combination; however, Bradford’s focus on people and culture is what set him apart as the leading candidate.
“One of service, one of humility, one of really trying to understand that the focus of our office is about truly supporting students, faculty and staff in reaching their potential and being successful, and Michael fits that perfectly.”
“When I arrived, there were a few values that are very important to me as a leader,” Lejuez said. “One of them is communication, another is academic rigor and the third is really valuing and supporting our people. Michael’s role fits that third one. It’s important for me to hire someone who really understands why students, faculty and staff members come to UConn and develop as a person, learn important skills and be able to succeed and move forward in whatever their aspirations are. Michael is a truly special individual who inspires people and sees people for who they are but also what they can be.”
Bradford said his biggest plans in the role revolve around unity, culture and understanding the needs of all three groups he’ll oversee.
“How do we support the staff in development of their own professional identity and career,” Bradford said. “How do we create life-transformative education without doubling the work of faculty? How does faculty maintain their research as we move into this new space? How do we bring regional campuses on board? We often talk about One UConn, but how do we celebrate the differences of the regional campuses while maintaining one mission?
Bradford’s first day as Vice Provost is Sept. 28.