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The Blue & Gray Press | February 25, 2018

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Levin key to liberal arts survival

By JONATHAN POLSON

Though the exact role and responsibility of a provost seems to be esoteric here at the University of Mary Washington, the appointment of Jonathan Levin to the position will have a bigger impact on UMW students than they may expect.

“As provost, Levin will oversee all academic programs and planning,” the Bullet reported on March 21. Additionally, he will sit as “the chairperson for the academic support team for the reallocation program.”

Students have shown concern about the safety of certain majors and classes ever since the announcement of this process. As Levin oversees the task, his role will undoubtedly play a major part in the results.

Levin’s history reveals a similar sentiment and value of liberal arts programs that UMW students took to the streets to defend in November.

Levin holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in English and taught English during his career. Not only does this experience contribute to his understanding of higher education, but it also shows his devotion to the study of English, one of many liberal arts studies becoming less profitable in this day and age.

Levin served at Drew University where he oversaw the “enhancement of a wide range of programs in the liberal arts,” according to the email from President Rick Hurley announcing Levin’s appointment. This included the creation of an interdisciplinary major in business studies and minors in photography and film and media studies.

These are clear examples of Levin’s devotion to creating and improving practical programs while remaining true to liberal arts studies and allowing students to continue pursuing their interests and passions.

Levin exhibits a desire to improve UMW while continuing to reinforce the studies that both faculty and students engage in so passionately. Levin’s commitment to liberal arts will be extremely beneficial to the university as it undergoes this reevaluation.

Levin also expressed interest in continuing to teach English while working as provost at UMW, proof that he, like so many UMW students, cannot simply shake off his passion. Levin’s commitment to the study of English and liberal arts should allow students to rest easy.

Hopefully, the choice of Levin as provost ensures our university’s stability as a school committed to liberal arts while improving and advancing in new and different ways.