Dr. Linda Essig Appointed Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of Baruch College
May 3, 2021
Dear Baruch Community,
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Linda Essig, MFA, PhD, as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of Baruch College, effective July 1, 2021, pending approval from the CUNY Board of Trustees. She will join Baruch after an extensive national search—with active engagement and strong endorsement from faculty, staff, and students throughout the College.
Propelling Baruch Forward
Dr. Essig will join Baruch at a critical moment in the College’s history—as the College emerges ever stronger from the pandemic. Baruch has differentiated itself as a top-performing institution with a rich tradition of academic excellence, accessibility, and upward mobility for students from every socioeconomic background.
With national rankings and accolades affirming what is now a distinctive niche, Baruch shall emerge as a new model for higher education: Institutions that insist on academic excellence at the highest level while expanding their base to support the success for historically underserved students in a rigorous intellectual environment.
The appointment of Dr. Linda Essig as Provost is key to that vision. As my leadership partner in the effort to position Baruch for the future, Dr. Essig will embrace a newly defined position that includes responsibility for all academic, research, and creative work of the College with a focus on continued academic excellence through curricular innovation, increased effectiveness through streamlined academic operations, enhanced student success through integrated services, increased research vitality through interdisciplinary collaboration, and the elevation of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the College. Working closely with the College community, she will explore models and instructional modalities that ensure student learning outcomes and support for faculty. Working with senior leadership of the College, she will integrate academic priorities into all major campus planning and decision-making, including student services, research infrastructure and support, facilities planning, information technology, resource allocation, and fundraising.
An Experienced Committed Leader
Raised in New York City, Dr. Essig’s distinguished career spans more than three decades as a faculty member and administrator at major public institutions, including the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Arizona State University, and California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA). As an academic leader, her work has been focused on the mission of inclusive and transformational education, especially for traditionally underserved students. With terminal degrees in the arts and in public policy, Linda is a true multi-disciplinarian who has an impressive track record in fostering academic innovation through interdisciplinary partnership.
A collaborator, a builder, and a strong advocate for experiential learning, Dr. Essig is focused on, in her words, “meeting students where they are.” Dr. Essig and I have similar, complementary styles, approaches, and philosophies. Our early conversations have been inspiring.
In her current position as dean of Cal State LA’s College of Arts & Letters, Dr. Essig is responsible for nine academic departments, four centers, and the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery. Prior to Cal State LA, her leadership roles include founding director of Arizona State University’s then School of Theatre and Film, director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs for ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and chair of the Department of Theatre and Drama and director of University Theatre at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
With a PhD in public administration and public policy from Arizona State University and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Provost-elect Essig’s scholarship and teaching experience have focused on entrepreneurship and innovation. She has been published extensively, with articles appearing in such refereed journals as Cultural Trends, Entrepreneurship Research Journal, Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, and Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts, which she launched in 2012. She has authored four books, including the forthcoming Creative Infrastructures: Artists, Money, and Entrepreneurial Action. Formerly a professional lighting designer, Dr. Essig has designed for theaters throughout the country.
As Dr. Essig noted in the interview process and during the open forums—in which many of you participated—her career dovetails nicely with Baruch and its three schools. With a background in theater and design, her tenure faculty position in the Weissman School is a natural fit, while her expertise in cultural entrepreneurship and her doctorate in public administration and policy align nicely with Zicklin and Marxe. This strong fit was noticed by you, too, as Dr. Essig’s candidacy was favored by the entire community with many positive comments submitted during the open search process.
Starting the New Academic Year with Strength
Having completed the process with the entire Baruch community’s input and having read each and every comment you took the time to write and submit, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who made Dr. Essig’s selection possible. Because of the hard work of all the members of the Search Committee, and the capable leadership of Committee Chair Arthur Downing, we will start the Fall 2021 semester with a permanent provost. I also want to extend my sincere gratitude to Drs. James McCarthy and Myung-Soo Lee for their tremendous contributions as interim provost during this challenging time. Dr. Lee will continue his critical role in leading various College initiatives, our transition to the fall, and onboarding for Provost-elect Essig.
Provost-elect Essig is committing to Baruch College because of our unique story and tremendous potential. She will be a key figure in our future as Baruch and New York City, her hometown, recover from the pandemic and as we establish Baruch College as a national model for academic excellence, access, and social mobility. I ask you to join me in welcoming and supporting Dr. Linda Essig in advancing our future.
S. David Wu
President, Baruch College