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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Dean of Cummings School Deborah Kochevar to serve as provost ad interim

A student walks in front of Ballou Hall on Oct. 5, 2016.

Deborah Kochevar, the Dean of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, will serve as provost ad interim after Provost David Harris assumes his new role as president at Union College.

University President Anthony Monaco said he was pleased to appoint Kochevar to serve in Harris’ place.

“Debbie has been an outstanding Dean for [the] Cummings School, committed to academic excellence and actively engaged in cross-School initiatives,” Monaco told the Daily in an email.

Monaco also emphasized his hope that the appointment of Kochevar, who has been at Tufts since 2006, would make for a smooth transition from Harris' tenure as provost

Kochevar echoed this sentiment.

“David Harris has done a fabulous job as the provost, so my goal will be … to continue some of the initiatives that are in the works and to be open to new ones,” Kochevar said.

According to Kochevar, these initiatives include the implementation of the Data Intensive Studies Center (DISC), a plan which will emphasize the use of data across all disciplines on campus. She emphasized her plan to continue the initiatives Provost Harris has undertaken, such as Tufts’ summer programs, and mentioned that she would like to support interdisciplinary studies.

Kochevar mentioned that she was excited to assume the role because it contrasts with her previous career, which focused on graduate and professional education.

“My realm to date has been veterinary students and graduate students because I’ve trained both,” she said. “The interim provost position will allow me to be in an environment where a new group of students can be part of my priorities.”

Kochevar spoke of her teaching career at Tufts, a small amount of which she hopes to keep upon assuming the role of provost ad interim. Courses she has taught include a first-year veterinary class on ethics and animal welfare. In addition, she plans to participate in an Experimental College course in fall 2018 that is part of Tufts One Health, a program Kochevar currently chairs that seeks to find common ground between human and animal health.

Joyce Knoll, associate professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the Cummings School, will serve as dean ad interim of the Cummings School while Kochevar assumes Harris’ role.

Knoll, who has also served as the director of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory, stated that she was excited to assume the role of dean ad interim.

“Honestly, it is an honor to have been asked, and to know that the other department chairs have faith in me,” she told the Daily in an email.

Knoll said she was asked to fill this role after Kochevar consulted with the Dean’s Council, a body which includes all the department chairs, associate deans, the hospital director and the senior advancement director at the Cummings School.

According to Kochevar, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) requires that any accredited veterinary school has a dean who has a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree.

Knoll wrote that between Wednesday and Sunday she attended an Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) meeting in Washington, D.C., to be introduced to other administrators of veterinary schools and the veterinary educational community at large.

Kochevar expressed her faith that Knoll would be fit for her role as dean ad interim.

“The attributes that are really important for Dr. Knoll [are] she’s extremely collegial and collaborative and takes … a team approach,” she said.

Monaco stated in his email that he plans to put together a search committee for a new provost later this spring, with the goal of an appointment no later than July 1, 2019.