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Claire Sterk to serve as acting provost

Emory's senior vice provost for academic planning and faculty development will fill the provost's role until a successor is named. Emory Photo/Video.

Senior Vice Provost Claire Sterk has been appointed to serve as Emory's acting provost by President James W. Wagner following the departure of Provost Earl Lewis, who leaves in November to assume the presidency of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation early next year.

An acclaimed public health researcher and educator, Sterk was appointed by Lewis in 2005 to serve as Emory's first senior vice provost for academic planning and faculty development, charged with overseeing the development of academic/research programs in areas including faculty retention, recruitment and early retirement, and faculty and student initiatives.

Her appointment as acting provost begins Nov. 10 and will continue until a finalist is chosen to assume the position, Wagner explained in an Oct. 29 letter to the Emory community.

"For most of our deans, faculty and senior administrators, Claire Sterk needs no introduction," Wagner wrote. "She is well known for her energy, optimism, personal warmth, and extraordinary ability to juggle multiple responsibilities as a senior faculty member, principal investigator, and senior vice provost."

Wagner praised Sterk's abilities to work "in a seamless fashion across divisions, with her major academic appointment based in the Rollins School of Public Health and associated appointments in Emory College of Arts and Sciences."

In 2000, Sterk was appointed Candler Professor in Public Health. She is a former associate dean for research in the Rollins School, and served for five years as chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education.

In addition to her role as senior vice provost for academic affairs, Sterk also holds appointments in anthropology, sociology, and women's, gender and sexuality studies.

A native of the Netherlands, Sterk holds doctorate degrees in anthropology from the University of Utrecht and sociology from Erasmus University in Rotterdam. She has focused her sociological research on connections between drug and alcohol abuse and high-risk sexual behavior.

Sterk has received funding by the Centers for Disease Control and/or the National Institutes of Health for more than 20 years, and currently serves as principal investigator on two grants — totaling more than $6.3 million — on the relationship between neighborhood effects, HIV risk-taking and drug abuse.

A committee headed by Candler School of Theology Dean Jan Love continues in advanced stages of its search to find Lewis' successor, who will serve as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs. The committee will present the names of three to four final candidates for Wagner's review by the end of December.

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