College hires new assistant vice president for faculty affairs

by Laura King / Beacon Staff • June 9, 2015

Carol Parker, an Elvin E. Overton distinguished professor of law at the University of Tennessee College of Law, will fill the position of assistant vice president for faculty affairs at Emerson starting July 8, according to an email sent to the Emerson community from Chief Academic Officer Michaele Whelan.

The new position, which exists within the academic affairs senior staff, entails supporting faculty development, addressing academic personnel issues and creating policies and initiatives, according to Whelan’s email. Parker will also be responsible for promoting issue, research, and creative activities all focusing on inclusivity.

Parker said in an interview that she only had very general knowledge of this May’s student protests for cultural competency education and the faculty’s new endeavors to work on this issue.

She said that issues of cultural competency and faculty diversity are important to her, and that they were important to the University of Tennessee.

“It’s a challenge, and it’s also an opportunity,” Parker said. “It’s absolutely bedrock essential to an educational institution. I’m glad about the initiatives that are beginning and I look forward to working on them.”

Parker said that she will be working with faculty from all campuses, though the extent to which she’ll be working with faculty from the Los Angeles and Netherlands campuses has not been decided.

“[The job is] a lot about getting to know the faculty as individuals,” Parker said.

Parker was chosen by a faculty committee chaired by Jan Roberts-Breslin, a professor and interim dean of graduate studies in the visual and media arts department, Whelan wrote.

Others on the committee included Jane Shattuc, professor, and Rob Todd, associate professor and associate chair, both in the visual and media arts department; Eileen McBride, assistant professor for the institute for liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies; and Cathryn Edelstein, senior scholar-in-residence for the communication studies department.

Parker joins Emerson in Boston after working at the University of Tennessee since 1994. She has a B.S. in Education and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University, and a J.D. from the University of Illinois.

Parker said that she likes working at professional, career-driven schools because the students know what they want to do with their education, and faculty have often worked in the fields they teach. She said Emerson fits that description with a liberal arts foundation.

“I love [Emerson’s] focus on the performing arts and communication, and I’ve known about its good reputation,” Parker said. “I was very excited when I saw there was a position that applied to me there.”