Campus & Community

Judith D. Singer named senior vice provost for Faculty Development and Diversity

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Judith D. Singer, the James Bryant Conant Professor of Education and former academic dean at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), has been named senior vice provost for Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard University, Provost Steven E. Hyman announced today (June 17).

“A distinguished statistician and social scientist, Judy is highly regarded for her intellect and judgment, her prior experience as both academic dean and acting dean with colleague John Willett of the Graduate School of Education, her collaborative style, and her commitment to high standards and diversity in faculty appointments,” said Hyman. “I am pleased that she has agreed to serve as the senior vice provost and that she, President Faust, and I will be working closely together on critical issues of faculty development and diversity across the University.”

As senior vice provost — a position created in 2005 at the recommendation of the Task Force on Women Faculty and the Task Force on Women in Science and Engineering — Singer will address the need for more systematic analysis and review of appointments, with an eye to ensuring greater excellence and diversity in faculty ranks across the University.

“Judy has the leadership skills that will be especially important for the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity in the next phase of its development,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “Though we have made progress on ensuring excellence and diversity in faculty ranks across the University, we still have more to do. I am confident that Judy Singer understands these challenges and will take them on with energy and effectiveness.”

Singer also will review junior faculty and other term appointments across the University, serve as an adviser to the president and provost in the ad hoc tenure process, and oversee the administration of funds designated to facilitate appointments of outstanding scholars who contribute to increased faculty diversity. She will participate in the annual academic planning process chaired by the provost and develop annual reports on the status of diversity and development efforts across the University.

In close collaboration with the faculty and School deans, Singer will also focus on improving the climate for women and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups on campus through the systematic collection and analysis of faculty demographic and appointments data, the implementation of University-wide diversity education programs, the development of junior faculty mentoring programs, and a variety of other initiatives.

“Harvard’s outstanding faculty is the envy of higher education throughout the world,” said Singer. “I am honored to have this opportunity to work with President Faust, Provost Hyman, and colleagues across the University towards our shared goal of sustaining Harvard’s excellence while increasing its diversity in the years ahead. In just three short years, Evelynn Hammonds has taken the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity from a theoretical glimmer in two task force reports to a thriving central force in making the University a more welcoming and diverse institution. I look forward to building on this strong foundation as we devise strategies for attracting exceptional scholars, nurturing their development, and ensuring that the Harvard of the future is a place where excellence and diversity flourish hand in hand.”

Reporting directly to the president and provost, the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity is supported by two advisory committees: the University Committee on Faculty Development and Diversity, comprised of School representatives designated by the deans, and an advisory committee of senior faculty members to assist with the administration of the Faculty Development and Diversity Fund. As senior vice provost, she will also be a member of the Academic Advisory Group, which includes the deans of the faculties, the president, and the provost.

Singer, who will remain a member of the HGSE faculty, succeeds Professor Evelynn Hammonds, who was appointed dean of Harvard College in March 2008.

“I am thrilled that Judy Singer has accepted the position of senior vice provost for Faculty Development and Diversity. Judy has the intellectual breadth, the leadership skills, and the commitment to equity, excellence, and diversity that this position requires. I’m confident that she will do a terrific job,” said Hammonds.

An internationally renowned social statistician, Singer’s professional interests focus on improving the quantitative methods used in social, educational, and behavioral research. She is primarily known for her contributions to the practice of multilevel modeling, survival analysis, and individual growth modeling, and to making these and other statistical methods accessible to empirical researchers.

Appointed an assistant professor of education at HGSE in 1984, Singer was elevated to full professor in 1993. She was named the James Bryant Conant Professor of Education in 2001. From 1999 to 2004 Singer served as academic dean for HGSE and acting dean from 2001 to 2002.

During her tenure at Harvard, she has served in a variety of advisory positions and on numerous committees, including the Faculty Development and Diversity Committee and the Pilot Fund Committee for the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity. Singer also was a member of the faculty advisory groups convened during the recent searches for the Harvard president and dean of the HGSE.

“Judy Singer is a talented administrator who has served as a trusted friend and colleague,” said Kathleen McCartney, the Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development and dean of HGSE. “Although all her colleagues at HGSE will miss her, we are grateful that she will be serving in this key role for the University.”

Singer’s wide-ranging interests have led her to publish across a broad array of disciplines, including statistics, education, psychology, medicine, and public health. In addition to writing and co-writing nearly 100 papers and book chapters, she has also co-written three books, including “By Design: Planning Better Research in Higher Education and Who Will Teach: Policies that Matter” (Harvard University Press).

Her most recent book with longtime collaborator John B. Willett is “Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis: Modeling Change and Event Occurrence” (Oxford University Press), for which they received honorable mention from the American Publishers Association for the best mathematics & statistics book of 2003. Already a classic, “Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis” offers an accessible in-depth presentation of two popular statistical methods for analyzing longitudinal data: multilevel modeling of individual change and hazard/survival modeling for event occurrence (in both discrete- and continuous-time).

Singer and Willett have recently begun their next collaborative venture, writing a new book on multilevel modeling titled “Applied Multilevel Data Analysis” (AMDA). AMDA will offer an accessible in-depth presentation of the many approaches for modeling multilevel data structures, integrating ideas from multiple disciplines including statistics, econometrics, and survey sampling.

Singer has received numerous awards for her work, including a fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and election to the National Academy of Education. Along with her collaborators, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) has given her the Raymond B. Cattell Award, the Review of Research Award, and the Palmer O. Johnson Award.

Singer graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a B.A. in mathematics and she received a Ph.D. in statistics from Harvard University in 1983.