Photo of Joy K. Ward

President Kaler names Joy K. Ward provost after national search

President Eric W. Kaler announced today that Joy K. Ward will be Case Western Reserve University’s next provost and executive vice president, effective Jan. 1, 2024.

“As dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and, more recently as interim provost, Joy has distinguished herself as a leader who excels at both strategy and execution,” President Kaler said. “Her intellect, authenticity and dedication already have benefited the university significantly. I look forward to seeing all that she accomplishes in this permanent role.”

Since becoming interim provost, Ward has led development of a strategic initiative to add 100 net new tenured and tenure-track faculty positions, collaborated on planning for the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building and overseen the launch of a restructured Undergraduate Advising Support Office and implementation of new Undergraduate General Education Requirements. 

“I am honored by this broader opportunity to serve Case Western Reserve, and grateful to President Kaler and the Board of Trustees for the confidence they have placed in me,” Ward said. “The university has made extraordinary gains over the past two-and-a-half years, and I am eager to work with the president and our entire leadership team to continue and even accelerate that progress.”

Ward joined the university as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in the summer of 2020. At the time the pandemic was in its earliest months, and few could predict what the next academic year might bring. Even with those challenges, Ward developed and launched a new interdisciplinary initiative that fall, Expanding Horizons. Designed to encourage innovation and collaboration in research and education, it also provided new opportunities for students. The program ultimately proved so successful that it attracted gifts totaling more than 30 times its initial investment.  

Under Ward’s leadership, the College also witnessed significant growth in research. After her extensive engagement, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation committed $3.5 million to establish Experimental Humanities, an effort to integrate education in the humanities with studies of science and engineering. 

In June the university announced the $60 million Sara and Curt Moll Institute for Mental Health and Well-Being. The institute—which includes a $23.5 million commitment from the Molls—emerged from extensive conversations between Ward and Sara, a triple alumna and university trustee.

Ward’s selection as provost followed a national search that involved a campus-wide committee led by School of Medicine Dean and Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs Stan Gerson. The firm Education Executives, LLC, assisted with the search process, which attracted many highly qualified candidates. 

President Kaler also expressed gratitude to Lee Thompson, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, for her continued service; the university will launch a search for a permanent dean in the spring semester.