Published 04/05/10

Bryant names new vice president for academic affairs

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  (April 5, 2010) - Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley today announced the appointment of José-Marie Griffiths, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as Bryant's next vice president for academic affairs, effective June 2010.

"Dr. Griffiths' unparalleled background equips her with a rare perspective that will accelerate Bryant's momentum." President Ronald K. Machtley

Dr. Griffiths is an acclaimed policy expert, researcher and administrator with more than 30 years of experience in academic, corporate and government settings. She currently is a professor in the School of Information and Library Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill and deputy director of the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute.

Bryant's vice president for academic affairs is responsible for all academic and research programs within the University's College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences. Griffiths will play a major role in the University's upcoming strategic planning process, reviewing both the undergraduate and the graduate education curricula to ensure continuing and increasing excellence, strengthening selected academic and research areas, and recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty.

Bryant University has a distinguished history of nearly 150 years, providing rigorous academic programs that integrate business and liberal arts to develop the skills and critical thinking that are essential to every profession. "As we look to the future, all private colleges and universities need to closely examine their educational model to ensure they develop a compelling and sustainable institution that differentiates itself," Machtley said. "Dr. Griffiths' unparalleled background equips her with a rare perspective that will accelerate Bryant's momentum toward such goals. I look forward to having someone of Dr. Griffiths' caliber as a member of our team."

"I have a passion to see individuals and organizations grow, function effectively, and improve the quality of their own lives as they serve the greater good of local, state, national and global communities," Dr. Griffiths said in a statement released today. "Bryant University has achieved considerable success in recent years and is clearly an excellent institution on a trajectory of growth. The University's commitment to academic excellence, student-centered focus, multicultural and international perspectives, use of advanced technologies and opportunities for corporate, business and other real-world experiences are especially appealing."

Dr. Griffiths is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her research spans information science, technology and leadership, and her work includes examination of the value and return on investment in information systems and services; researching the development of protocols and policies for resource sharing across organizations; reporting on the influences of the digital revolution on the conduct of research; and studying success criteria and best practices for information technology in higher education.

In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Griffiths to a term on the U.S. National Science Board. She previously held two presidential appointments, one to the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee and the other to the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Dr. Griffiths has served on blue-ribbon panels and committees for agencies including the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy.

Before joining the University of North Carolina in 2004, Dr. Griffiths was the Doreen E. Boyce chair and professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also directed the Sara Fine Institute for Interpersonal Behavior and Technology and was a senior associate of the Learning Research and Development Center. She also has held teaching, research and administrative positions at the University of Michigan, the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Before her tenure at the University of Tennessee, for nine years Dr. Griffiths held key information systems and research posts in the corporate sector. She holds a bachelor's degree in physics and a doctorate in information science from University College London.

Griffiths will succeed V.K. Unni, D.B.A., who has served as Bryant's vice president for academic affairs since 1997. Unni will return to the Bryant faculty as Distinguished Professor of Business when he completes a year-long sabbatical that begins this June. Machtley praised Unni's guidance and leadership. "V.K. has inspired us in ways that will be difficult to replicate," Machtley said. "He has been a distinguished colleague and a valued personal friend. I am personally indebted to him for his many contributions to Bryant during his long tenure."

Griffiths' appointment culminates a nationwide search that began last September. The search committee was chaired by Phyllis Schumacher, Ph.D., professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Michael Roberto, D.B.A., trustee professor of management in the College of Business. The other members of the search committee were:

  • Thomas Eakin, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs;
  • Sandra Enos, Ph.D., associate professor of social sciences, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Buky Folami, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting, College of Business;
  • Teresa McCarthy, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, College of Business;
  • Sam Mirmirani, Ph.D., professor of economics, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Annette Cerilli, director, Executive Development Center;
  • Tiago Machado '10, student;
  • Cailin Rocco '10, student.

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