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Kaivola named provost at Augsburg

Karen KaivolaKaren Kaivola, associate provost for Faculty Development and professor of English, will be leaving Stetson at the end of May to join Augsburg College in Minneapolis as provost and chief academic affairs officer.

Kaivola joined Stetson in 1991 as an assistant professor of English, earning tenure in 1997. She was promoted to full professor in 2003. Kaivola’s teaching and research interests have focused on 20th-century literature, modernism and modernity, social justice, Virginia Woolf, and literary theory.  A new article, “Revisiting the Ramsays: Love, Alterity, and Ethical Relation in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse” will be published this summer in Literature, Interpretation, Theory.

In addition to teaching, Kaivola has held numerous administrative positions at Stetson including associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the Women and Gender Studies Program, University adviser on Gender Equity (a position that put her on the President’s Cabinet), and, most recently, associate provost for Faculty Development. Since 1999, she has held the J. Ollie Edmunds Chair, an honor recognizing excellence in teaching and scholarship as well as service to the Stetson community.

“I have learned so much in all of these roles and from all the people I’ve worked with at Stetson. Until very recently, I never considered pursuing a leadership role at another institution,” said Kaivola. “But I do believe that these roles have indeed prepared me well to assume the responsibilities of provost.”

“I am so proud of Karen’s courage and conviction in applying her tremendous talent, expertise, and wisdom to advancing higher education through this important leadership position,” said Beth Paul, provost of Stetson University.  “She will, indeed, soar in this position, advancing the important mission of Augsburg College and impacting the lives of Augsburg students.”

“Our community is impressed by Dr. Kaivola’s commitment to academic excellence, the depth of her scholarship and teaching, faculty development, and dedication to community,” said Paul C. Pribbenow, president of Augsburg College. “Dr. Kaivola’s skills, experience, and values will serve the college well as we further our commitment to excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, intentional diversity, and educating for service.”

Kaivola was “powerfully moved” by Augsburg’s core mission, which emphasizes active engagement in the community, academic excellence, and liberal arts education as well as professional study.  She also experienced a “strong and immediate connection with Augsburg students, faculty, and administrators.”

“I am drawn by the idea of using my talents and experiences to serve Augsburg College,” said Kaivola. “I am excited, honored and thrilled to have this opportunity at such a special place.”

But her departure will be bittersweet. Kaivola acknowledges that leaving Stetson will be exceedingly difficult.  She will be leaving behind deep friendships and important relationships with Stetson colleagues.  She will also miss the joy that comes from working directly with students in the classroom.

“It is really difficult to leave a place where I have had such deep connections with so many different people,” said Kaivola. “While I’m confident these friendships will endure, my years at Stetson have been life enhancing and transforming. People at Stetson have challenged me to grow in ways that I never could have imagined. I will always hold Stetson close to my heart. Indeed, I will carry Stetson with me and bring what I’ve learned here to my new role at Augsburg College.”