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Pontari named interim vice president for academic affairs and provost

Beth Pontari speaks behind a podium
Beth Pontari

Beth Pontari, who has led Furman University’s engaged learning efforts as associate provost since 2017, will serve as interim vice president for academic affairs and provost, beginning July 1, Furman President Elizabeth Davis announced Wednesday.

“As an associate provost, Dr. Pontari has been a key leader in Academic Affairs and in advancing The Furman Advantage,” Davis said. “She helped to launch The Furman Advantage and has been responsible for promoting our academic vision to internal and external audiences and for tracking and assessing its progress, including by facilitating our partnership with Gallup.”

In 2018, Pontari chaired the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Steering Committee for Furman’s re-accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The QEP, “Engaged Learning for Every Student: Delivering The Furman Advantage through Access, Opportunities and Impact,” focused on identifying and removing barriers for students to participate in engaged learning.

She also oversaw the re-envisioning of the Center for Engaged Learning, uniting the offices of Study Away, Internship and Undergraduate Research to help facilitate Furman’s promise to provide every student access to high-quality engaged learning opportunities.

Pontari has directed Furman Engaged, Furman’s signature event for students to showcase their engaged learning experiences, and worked closely with Provost Ken Peterson to expand Graduate Studies and raise the profile of the university’s four outward-facing institutes.

Pontari, who has served on Furman’s faculty in the psychology department since 2001, was the university’s lead researcher and steering committee member for The Duke Endowment’s $3.4 million Resiliency Grant for a project that examined college student resiliency.

Pontari has chaired the Department of Psychology and served on many faculty and administrative committees, including the Institutional Review Board. She received her Ph.D. and master’s degrees from the University of Florida and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Colgate University.

Peterson announced this past fall that he would return to full-time teaching at the end of his term as provost on June 30. The university plans to begin a national search in Fall 2023.

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