New leaders on campus: the SBU trio share their hopes and perspectives
Stony Brook University has welcomed a trio of new leaders to its campus over the past few months. Provost Carl Lejuez, Vice President of Marketing and Communications William Warren and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration Jed Shivers recently shared their goals for Stony Brook and their excitement about joining a university. flagship of the State University of New York educational system.
As Provost, Carl Lejuez is responsible for Stony Brook University faculty, staff, and students.
Lejuez, who has asked people to call him by his first name instead of trying to pronounce his last name — which, by the way, is Lejh way — is making a concerted effort to forge bonds on campus.
“Every time I show up, I don’t say ‘Provost,'” he said. “I say, ‘Professor in the Department of Psychology.’ I don’t believe I can be a credible faculty leader if there isn’t a sense of sitting in their shoes and understanding the implications of the strategic and practical decisions we make.
Lejuez, who grew up in Secaucus, New Jersey, earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emory University and her master of arts and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from West Virginia University.
As a first-generation student, Lejuez feels inspired by the opportunity for students to experience a place of world-class research in an environment that cares about student success.
For first-generation students, in particular, he recognizes the need to bond with professors.
These close connections help to “take what is happening in the classroom, which can be esoteric knowledge, and turn it into passion and understanding”, giving students the opportunity to see how what they are learning in a manual applies to the world.
He wants to expand the scope and reach of these hands-on experiences for students, while acknowledging “everything that’s been put into it by faculty and staff,” he said.
Lejuez believes that faculty’s ability to conduct extraordinary and groundbreaking research should dovetail with their commitment to be accomplished educators.
“We set expectations from the start,” he said. “When you start here, when you’re progressing and doing well, you’re great at both research and teaching.”
Stony Brook has a Center of Excellence in Learning and Teaching which provides support to faculty who may need polishing or improvement to inspire and educate students.
Stony Brook takes a close look at student ratings, while also looking at other data when evaluating its teachers.
Lejuez, who most recently served as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the University of Connecticut, supports strong and growing areas for the university, including clinical psychology, quantum information systems, and science. climate science, among others.
“These are areas that Stony Brook has a real opportunity to develop and part of my role has been to think about how to identify incredibly strong areas and areas that can emerge in this way and merge them with growing fields,” he said.
Lejuez believes in academic excellence and in diversity and equity.
He hopes to expand the range of countries and regions from which the university recruits students and faculty.
Lejuez describes Stony Brook as “one of public universities’ best-kept secrets,” ranking first in the state in public schools, according to the 2022-2023 U.S. News and World Report rankings.
“Our goal now is to remove the best-kept secret part,” Lejuez said.
Raising the profile of SB
That’s where William Warren, vice president of marketing and communications, comes in.
Warren has held numerous corporate and academic positions, including as Director of Marketing and Communications at the University of Utah.
Warren hopes to raise “Stony Brook’s profile and really claim the kind of credit and attention this institution deserves,” he said.
Previously at Coca Cola, among others, Warren welcomes the opportunity to support Stony Brook.
“You want an exciting and achievable challenge,” he says. “It means having a fabulous thing to market that may be undervalued.”
Warren divides marketing into earned and paid media. For the former, he hopes to do the hard work of building relationships with national reporters, who can publicize the accomplishments and experts available at Stony Brook.
Warner plans to continue working with regional and local journalists, while engaging in an ongoing effort to share Stony Brook’s story, including raising awareness of initiatives such as the Simons Stem Scholars program which supports students from minorities entering scientific fields.
As for the paying coin, Warren sees opportunities in multiple dimensions.
“The great thing about the paid marketing campaign is that it’s adaptable to all sorts of goals,” he said. “Student recruitment can use the campaign to recruit the right students. We can use the campaign to help us recruit great teachers. It can also be adapted to “attract more donor support”.
However, any marketing effort must remain grounded in truth.
“You want to come out with a message that resonates that teachers will see and say, ‘This is what we’re offering,'” Warren said. “We are not blowing smoke.”
A marketing campaign includes a host of elements, such as best execution and photography that supports the message.
An evolved campaign could include a new slogan for the school.
The “Coke is it” campaign reinforces the idea of authenticity because consumers can be sure it’s “exactly what you think it is,” Warren said. “He never disappoints. It’s still consistent and part of American culture.
In developing a slogan for Stony Brook, which Warren says is less important than the underlying message, he wants to focus on the handful of characteristics that capture the university’s personality.
Reflecting on the differences between commercial and academic marketing, Warren noticed that academics tend to be more skeptical.
“You have to work to make them allies,” he said.
Outside of his marketing role, Warren, who originally pursued a doctorate in history at Rice University, shared an interest in teaching. At the University of Utah, he taught a course in American economic history, and at some point would also consider teaching at Stony Brook.
Since arriving on Long Island, Warren has enjoyed kayaking. He is also a former violinist and enjoys the opportunity to relax with music.
A return to the Northeast
After more than four years as vice president of finance and operations/chief operating officer at the University of North Dakota, Jed Shivers returns to the Northeast, which resembles the cultural and environmental vibe of his childhood home in Storrs, Connecticut.
Shivers, who is senior vice president of finance and administration at Stony Brook, enjoys riding the quad and the wooded areas around campus.
After living on the plains, which has “its own beauty,” Shivers appreciates the SB campus, which has “more trees,” and includes a view of fall foliage outside his office window in the administration building. .
Ready to embrace the opportunities and challenges of his work, Shivers said the university community is preparing a strategic plan for the next five years or so, which he will follow with a campus master plan.
In preparing this plan, he is working with a company that will survey all research space on campus and determine its current functional use, occupants, and intensity of use.
It also focuses on facilities that help in the delivery of education and hopes to conduct a similar survey of educational spaces.
In order to provide managers and executives with actionable financial information, the university has also embarked on a process of improving its business systems for human resources, budgeting, accounting and financial management.
With a “high rate of system outages around campus” creating a “significant problem” for the university, Stony Brook’s building and infrastructure are all aging at the same time, Shivers said.
Campus planning, design and construction and campus operations and maintenance are constantly working to address these issues and resolve issues as quickly as possible, Shivers added.
The immediate need for deferred maintenance issues is over $1.5 billion, which dwarfs any comparably sized campus in the SUNY system.
The SUNY Building Fund and SUNY management provided funds to alleviate a small but substantial portion of these critical issues, he said. The university is also engaged in conversations with the Building Fund and the Budget Division about ways to use the funds for optimal results.
Chills were thrilled to have the chance ‘to walk into a place where the President [Maurie Mcinnis] was forming his team,” he said. He saw this opportunity as a chance to be part of the leadership “on a kind of ground floor”.
He takes on the challenge of working with the SUNY system.
In accordance with McInnis’ mandates since his arrival, Shivers would like to create a consolidated financial statement for Stony Brook and all of its affiliated entities.
Along with enjoying his rides through the quad, Shivers relished the opportunity to join other sports and school enthusiasts in supporting varsity teams and cultural life on campus. He and his wife Sandee have been married for almost 30 years.
Outside of work, Shivers said he was doing “everything wrong”, but was enthusiastic about it. This includes golf, tennis, skiing and biking. To get you in shape for the 100 mile North Fork ride, what he never did, he started indoor cycling almost five days a week.