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Clark University’s Next Provost

To Members of the University Community:

I am very pleased to announce that Sebastián Royo, vice president of international affairs and professor of political science at Suffolk University, has been appointed provost and vice president of academic affairs at Clark University effective July 1. In addition to serving as provost, Sebastián will hold a tenured position as professor in Clark’s Department of Political Science.

Sebastián is an exceptional administrator, esteemed international scholar, and consummate collaborator who will bring a wealth of experience to Clark. Throughout his 23 years at Suffolk, Sebastián has earned high praise for his work in nearly all aspects of university leadership, having held a variety of positions including associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, professor of political science, vice president for student success, and a three-year assignment as acting provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. In addition to his current duties overseeing Suffolk’s international education programs and strategic partnerships, Sebastián serves as director of the university’s Madrid campus. He also is a commissioner-elect of the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the regional accreditation agency for colleges and universities in the six New England states. Sebastián led Suffolk’s COVID-19 Integrated Response team, which coordinated the university’s academic reopening last fall.

Sebastián holds a law degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, a master of arts in international relations, a master of business administration, and a Ph.D. in political science all from Boston University. He is widely published, with 10 books and more than two dozen academic journal articles under his name. Sebastián’s research interests have focused on globalization and competitiveness, democratic transitions, the role of institutions on economic policy and business performance, and varieties of capitalism. He has earned numerous awards and recognitions for exceptional teaching and administration, including Outstanding Administrator of the Year from the Suffolk University Student Government Association and the John Brennan Award for Outstanding Instruction from the Suffolk University Graduate Student Association.

Sebastián’s many accomplishments to date include development of high-quality and innovative academic programs, leadership of strategic planning processes and their implementation, collaboration on strategic enrollment and retention initiatives, direction of university accreditation and assessment efforts, leadership of the Office of Research and Assessment, budget development and management, faculty development and grant writing, and fundraising and alumni engagement.

Sebastián also is a champion of university-wide efforts to advance diversity, access, and inclusion as evidenced by his leadership of initiatives to recruit, support and graduate underrepresented minority students and efforts to diversify faculty recruitment. In addition, Sebastián has been deeply involved in the City of Boston’s Success Boston initiative aimed at inspiring and preparing students from Boston public schools for college. In searching for our next provost, this commitment to promoting meaningful cultural change and building a more diverse and inclusive university community was paramount.

Deeply committed to liberal arts, Sebastián has overseen development, faculty approval, and implementation of a new core curriculum for the College of Arts and Sciences at Suffolk, as well as a common core curriculum for business and liberal arts students which combines a strong liberal arts core with skills-development-oriented curriculum. Sebastián has taught 16 undergraduate and graduate courses, seven of which he developed for Suffolk’s government program. He is also committed to the model of shared governance which, at Clark, will ensure that faculty continue to have a strong voice in university decision-making.

It is clear that one of Sebastián’s greatest passions is providing a life-transforming experience for students through fresh, relevant curriculum and strong, highly coordinated supporting programs. He has an innate ability to listen and to engage students in very positive, productive change. Clark will benefit tremendously from his open and accessible approach.

My sincere thanks to the Provost Search Advisory Committee for their outstanding work in managing the selection process. The committee included: Yuko Aoyama, associate provost and dean of research and graduate studies; Sergio Granados-Focil, associate professor, chemistry; Hayley Haywood, assistant dean for equity and student success; Nina Kushner, associate professor, history (co-chair); John LaBrie, associate provost, dean of professional studies; Danielle Manning, executive vice president and treasurer; John Ohotnicky, university registrar; Mahi Taban, undergraduate student, political science; Rosalie Torres Stone, associate professor, sociology; Christopher A. Williams, professor, geography (co-chair); Kristen Williams, professor, political science; Kristina Wilson, professor, visual and performing arts; Anika Wohlleben, doctoral student, biology; Jing Zhang, professor, school of management. I am also grateful to Jett Pihakis of Russell Reynolds Associates for his outstanding professional services in support of this search.

With the constraints of COVID guidelines, we are limited in our ability to make personal introductions with the broad university community, but are looking forward to introducing Sebastián to the community very soon. In the meantime, please join me in extending a warm welcome to incoming-Provost Royo.

Read more about Sebastián and his background here.


David Fithian ’87