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Amanda Thomas, Ph.D., named provost and vice president for academic affairs as Stephen Fowl, Ph.D., becomes dean of Loyola College

| By Rita Buettner
Amanda Thomas, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Stephen Fowl, Ph.D., dean of Loyola College of Arts and Sciences
Amanda Thomas, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Stephen Fowl, Ph.D., dean of Loyola College of Arts and Sciences

Loyola President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., announced that Amanda Thomas, Ph.D., will serve in a new role as the University’s provost and vice president for academic affairs and that Stephen Fowl, Ph.D., will be dean of Loyola College, the University’s school of arts and sciences.

Thomas had been serving as interim vice president for academic affairs since July 2017, and Fowl had been serving as interim dean of Loyola College for the same time. The appointments are effective immediately.

“Since asking them to take on those responsibilities, I have had the opportunity to consider an administrative reorganization that will best meet the growing needs of the University,” Fr. Linnane told the campus community in an email announcement, adding that the idea of changing to a provost model, with a leader who oversees areas beyond academic affairs, had been under consideration within the campus community for years. “The idea of a provost is not a new one for Loyola, although we have not had one in recent history. With our current opportunities and challenges, however, I feel confident that having a provost, rather than simply a vice president for academic affairs, will allow us to better coordinate our admission and academic efforts, offering a more cohesive, clearer vision for our university and allowing for greater synergies across divisions.”

Thomas will oversee the academic affairs division and, beginning July 1, 2019, also the division of enrollment management.

“During the past year, both Amanda and Steve have proven themselves as outstanding leaders,” Fr. Linnane said. “They are collaborative leaders who know the strengths and challenges of our university. Their skills, dedicate, and prestige as scholars help them bring so much to their roles.”

A licensed psychologist whose research interests and publications focus on children and families and in particular, anxiety disorders, Thomas earned both her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia and her B.A. from the College of William and Mary. 

Thomas first joined the Loyola faculty in 1991, became a full professor of psychology in 2002, and served as chair of psychology, associate dean of arts and sciences, and associate vice president for graduate studies before she left to become dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for Saint Joseph’s University in 2014. She returned to Loyola a year later to become dean of Loyola College, a position she held until stepping into the interim vice president for academic affairs role in July 2017.

“Academic excellence is a foundational value of Loyola’s Ignatian heritage. Excellence in teaching and learning are enduring university priorities that I hope to emphasize through high-impact practices that enhance equity and inclusion and by building on our successes with curricular innovation. What is really great about a provost model is that it allows us to take a wider view of the student and faculty experience, to look at things more holistically,” Thomas said. “The synergies that the provost position encourages is what Loyola needs at the present time. It’s how the world works: it’s how world economies work, it’s how great scientific discoveries come about, it's how some of the best music, theater productions, and films are made—and it's why we're promoting collaborative learning at Loyola. The ability to regularly bring our exceptional faculty, deans, and associate deans together with their outstanding colleagues in admissions and financial aid will, I think, significantly help us in our efforts to recruit and retain talented students.”

A New Testament scholar and theologian, Fowl earned his Bachelor’s in History with a minor in ancient languages from Wheaton College, his M.A. in Theological Studies from Wheaton Graduate School, and his Ph.D. from University of Sheffield in Sheffield, United Kingdom.

He came to Loyola in 1989 as an assistant professor of theology, earned tenure in 1995, and was promoted to professor of theology in 2000. In 2001 he received Loyola’s Nachbahr Award for outstanding scholarly accomplishments in the humanities.  He has previously served for 14 years as chair of the theology department, director of graduate studies, chair of the Academic Senate, and as interim dean for Loyola College since July 2017. His leadership roles include co-chairing the New Way of Proceeding initiative, which looked for ways to increase financial sustainability at Loyola.

“Having been humanities faculty for 29 years, I felt I knew the humanities departments really well, but getting to know the faculty in the natural and applied sciences and the social sciences over the past year was really great. One of the goals I have now is to continue informal get-togethers with different groups of faculty across Loyola College to learn about the challenges and the concerns that each of the divisions have,” Fowl said. “That’s really about building academic community. We will be a much better, stronger, healthier university if we develop that sort of common life together, seeing us as members of departments but also as part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s certainly one way of understanding the notion of magis, as coming to understand yourself as part of something bigger, and so beginning to forge relationships with people or deepening existing relationships with people.”


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