Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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1st associate provost retires after 9 years

Northwestern’s first associate provost for undergraduate education, Stephen Fisher, announced Tuesday that he will step down from his position at the end of this academic year.

Fisher has served as associate provost – an administrative position that focuses on undergraduate education – for nine years. He began teaching math as a member of NU’s faculty in 1969. After this school year, Fisher will return to teaching in the math department on phased retirement.

“I’ll be 65 next summer, and I’ve done this job a long time,” Fisher said. “I’ve enjoyed very much what I’ve done, and I think a number of important things have gotten started.”

Fisher was instrumental in developing NU’s Study Abroad Office. When Fisher assumed his position as associate provost in 1997, fewer than 100 students each year studied abroad, according to William Anthony, director of the Study Abroad Office. They also had to remain abroad for a full year.

Fisher helped to expand the program to include more than 90 affiliated full-year and semester study abroad programs and to increase the number of students studying abroad to more than 600 this year.

“It’s been a delight working with Stephen,” Anthony said. “He helped spearhead these changes and worked with me to carry out the expansion of study abroad options.”

Fisher also served on the University Study Abroad Committee, which implemented NU’s language requirement for its study abroad programs, and supported the growth of staff in the study abroad office, Anthony said.

Fisher’s other priorities included the establishment of an Office of Fellowships, the Academic Advising Center and developing undergraduate research opportunities.

Fisher initiated NU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium and advocated giving funds to support undergraduate research. More than $200,000 each year in university funds now goes to more than 150 undergraduates for research.

“In general, undergraduates now have opportunities available to them that were not here 10 or 20 years ago,” Fisher said. “I’ve been involved in a lot of things, but it’s not so much what I’ve done as what directors of those offices have done.”

Fisher said he would like to see improvements in older on-campus residences and in relationships between undergraduate schools at NU.

“We need to think very carefully about undergraduate education and the options open to students,” he said. “We need to work hard to bridge gaps between the schools and open opportunities.”

Provost Lawrence Dumas said he will miss working with Fisher.

“(Fisher) has had many creative ideas about improving the learning experience of undergraduates at Northwestern,” Dumas said. “We look forward to celebrating his success in a more public way at the end of the academic year.”

Reach Amanda Palleschi at [email protected].

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1st associate provost retires after 9 years