Your connection to the University of Michigan-Dearborn | Fall 2019

Acclaimed Scholar and Teacher to Join UM-Dearborn as Next Provost

Susan E. Alcock, whose appointment begins Jan. 1, 2020, currently serves as UM-Flint’s interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Susan E. Alcock’s cultivated instincts inform her when to scan the landscape and when to look at something closely. It’s how the accomplished archaeologist views field sites — she once found a million-year-old hand ax in Jordan that appeared to be a rock at first glance. And it’s how she, a longtime U-M administrator, approaches success in higher education. 

“Administration is similar to surveying a landscape. It’s a big territory, and to understand an organization better, you need to look at it from a distance to get a big picture. You’ll also need to crouch down to the ground to thoroughly examine something to figure it out. You need to do both — and know when to do which — to do your job well,” she said. “It’s also important to recognize how the past figures in so you move forward in a way that respects, but educationally enhances, what came before.” 

Alcock— a 15-plus-year educator at U-M, holder of a doctoral degree from Cambridge and founder of a Brown University institute — was appointed as the next UM-Dearborn provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. She begins Jan. 1. 

Alcock, who started her academic career at U-M in 1992, currently serves as UM-Flint’s interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. 

She said working closely with students who have determination, high energy and a realization that a college degree can substantially change their lives is rewarding. She’s seen the impact public universities have on lives professionally and personally. 

“My dad went to college on a ROTC scholarship, and my mom went to the closest regional public university to her home. My parents’ lives, and in turn my life, were transformed by higher education,” she said. “I want to work to help students do the same for themselves and their families. I want to find out what we at UM-Dearborn can do to make their pathway to a degree smoother.” 

Prior to her time at UM-Flint, she worked in U-M’s Office of the President as special counsel for institutional outreach and engagement and as a Presidential Bicentennial Professor. From 2006 to 2015, she took a U-M hiatus to establish and direct Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. Throughout her career, Alcock has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, often called a “genius grant.” She will be the first MacArthur Fellow on the Dearborn campus. 

Alcock completed her Bachelor of Arts at Yale University and received a second bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge, where she also received a Master of Arts and Ph.D.

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