Albert C. DeCiccio, Former Academic Dean of Rivier College in Nashua, N.H., Named Provost at Southern Vermont College

July 8, 2008

(To read an essay on the selection of a Provost, co-written by President Karen Gross and Provost DeCiccio, click on this link to the Inside Higher Ed Web site: http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2008/08/12/gross )

Southern Vermont College has selected Albert C. DeCiccio, the former Academic Dean of Rivier College, a Catholic liberal arts college in Nashua, N.H., to fill the newly created post of Provost. He assumed the position as the college’s Chief Academic Officer on July 7.

DeCiccio earned his undergraduate degree at Merrimack College in 1974, his master’s degree in English from SUNY Albany, and his doctorate in English, Rhetoric and Composition from Arizona State University.

“In Al DeCiccio, we have found a person with a remarkably wide range of talents,” SVC President Karen Gross said. “In addition to being a true scholar, he is deeply engaged in thinking about pedagogy and creative and thoughtful programmatic development. He is adept at helping others grow and learn, and he believes in small colleges and their capacity to change lives. SVC welcomes him to our community and looks forward to his wisdom, his good humor and his remarkable thoughtfulness. Students, faculty and staff will be enriched by the opportunity to work with him. The search committee, chaired by Professor Tom Redden, are to be commended for their efforts.”

President Gross explained that the college replaced the position of Academic Dean with that of Provost in order to emphasize that “academic life is an institution’s primary asset – an asset that must be nurtured and fostered each and every day. The chief academic officer must be an institution’s compelling and inspirational voice about the power and capacity of education, and must effectively engage students, faculty and the wider community in the enterprise of education – expressed through a vision for the essential value of liberal arts colleges in the 21st century.”

As Academic Dean for the past eight years, DeCiccio has been responsible for the development of all graduate and undergraduate liberal arts, sciences and professional studies programs at the 2,070-student college.

Of the role of Provost, DeCiccio commented that “the Provost should establish the academic vision of the College for all constituencies, and broadcast that vision in the local civic community and, more nationally, in the higher education community. A Provost is very different from an Academic Dean, who is chiefly concerned with academic affairs and matters involving the faculty.”

DeCiccio also explained that he is looking forward to coming to a small, liberal arts college, an environment where, as the first in his family to earn a college degree, he discovered the value of education.

“I am a product of the small college, and I have thrived in that environment,” DeCiccio said. “Small, liberal arts colleges are staffed by faculty who love the classroom and the students in it from the first year through the last year. I am so pleased to have the chance to work with faculty who will take their roles seriously in the formation of their students.”

Once he’s established in his new role, DeCiccio expects to teach classes himself. “I love to teach writing, fiction, writing center theory, rhetoric,” he said.

And what advice does he give to students entering college? “The difference between high school and college is freedom, and the extent that students can negotiate that freedom, they will succeed in college,” he noted. “In high school, one learns how to find answers; in college, one learns how to ask questions.”

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, live music, traveling and delving into the history of a place, but he’s also a sports fan.

“I was thrilled with the Celtics winning the championship, but one of the great gifts of my life is to have seen the Red Sox win Two World Series,” he said.