Transylvania names new academic affairs vice president and dean of the university

Interim President John N. Williams is pleased to announce that Sarah Rebecca “Becky” Thomas, Ph.D., has been selected to serve as the next vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university. Thomas is currently the vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Earlham College in Indiana and previously served as academic dean at Bard College in New York. 

“Dr. Thomas’ academic background in computer science, as well as her extensive academic experience not only teaching it, but in innovating liberal arts institutions, provides a unique opportunity for Transylvania as we embrace the 21st century,” said Williams. “Her tenure at Earlham and Bard provided opportunities for creative leadership and consensus-building among varied audiences while moving these campuses forward.”

“Transylvania has embraced the digital liberal arts and is preparing our students for what has been called the ‘conceptual age,’ where creative problem solving and adaptive ways of thinking are critical skills,” said President-Designate Brien Lewis, who participated in the final interview and selection process. “Becky’s skills and expertise will be very helpful in furthering our discussions on how best to serve our students.” 

As vice president and dean at Earlham, Thomas is responsible for curricular oversight and planning, faculty hiring and evaluation and academic student support. She serves on the president’s cabinet, oversees all academic administrative offices, and serves ex officio on numerous faculty committees. At Bard, she was responsible for oversight and development of the undergraduate curriculum and faculty. She also served on the faculty at Marist College, the University of Northern Iowa and Middlebury College.

Transylvania’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the university is responsible for enriching and expanding the academic programs while engaging with the faculty and stakeholders to foster an integrative learning environment. Thomas will oversee the university’s four academic divisions, library, writing center, career development, registrar, academic development, first-year experience and study abroad.

“I am delighted to join Transylvania University, with its longstanding commitment to a community-driven, personalized liberal arts education,” said Thomas. “Transy’s students develop the intellectual skills and habits of mind that are the best preparation for responsible citizenship, professional success and personal fulfillment. I can already see that the breadth and strength of its academic programs and the dedication and expertise of its faculty make Transylvania an exciting place to learn together and work together.”

Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University. She will start at Transylvania on July 1.