Relihan poised to take associate provost position


Constance Relihan had to use her background in Shakespeare recently, deciding to be or not to be associate provost for academic affairs.

"The associate provost for undergraduate studies coordinates the work of those people so that there are ways that we can simplify the student advising experience," said Relihan, professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts.

Relihan will also be the chair of the academic affairs committee and the University curriculum committee.

"It is not something I ever imagined doing when I was getting a Ph.D. in 16th-century English literature and Shakespeare," Relihan said. "I have discovered I really like helping students resolve problems and making the academic system work."

Relihan will work with the Office of the Vice President of Research; part of her job description is to supervise the academic director of sustainability and the director of undergraduate research.

"I'm kind of scared because it is bigger than what I have been doing now," Relihan said. "I am excited about it because I think that it's a really important role, and it has the potential to do a lot of good for students and for Auburn."

The associate provost for undergraduate studies works with large scale projects like the Auburn Connects Common Book Program. Relihan will work with associate deans, faculty and administrators to oversee undergraduate degree programs.

"I am very much looking forward to working with Dr. Relihan in her new role," said Carl Pinkert, associate vice president for research.

In 1990, Relihan became a member of the Auburn faculty as a professor in the English department, and has served as the associate dean of academic affairs for the College of Liberal Arts for six years.

"Three individuals were interviewed and forums were held for each candidate," said Mary Ellen Mazey, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "All three were recommended to the provost, and I chose Dr. Relihan because of her experience."

Relihan's new title will be official June 1.

"The first thing I need to do is learn a bit more about the details of how all the other colleges work," Relihan said. "I want to work on some ways to simplify and streamline advising for students and ways in which we can help improve student retention and graduation rates."

Relihan said she is aware of some ongoing student issues including classroom capacity, and plans to help students get the appropriate classes efficiently instead of getting wait-listed for the classes they need.

"The Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies position is essentially doing for the University what I have been doing for the College of Liberal Arts for the past six and a half years," Relihan said.

Mazey said she will work with Relihan to establish goals for the position of associate provost for undergraduate studies.

"I feel like I have been handling a lot of the same issues whether they are related to exceptions to academic policies, curriculum issues, advising issues," Relihan said. "I feel like I have addressed those issues and had experience with those issues just at the college level, so in a way I am just taking it one step higher."

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