University of Rhode Island names Christopher Lavan to newly created associate vice provost role

Lavan, previously at the University of Tennessee, to start at URI as associate vice provost for advancement of teaching and learning in July

KINGSTON, R.I. – May 15, 2023 – The University of Rhode Island has named Christopher E. Lavan, associate vice provost of faculty affairs and executive director of teaching and learning innovation at the University of Tennessee, to its newly established position of associate vice provost for advancement of teaching and learning.

Lavan, who has held several leadership positions in the areas of teaching and learning at Tennessee since 2016, will join URI in mid-July to provide transformational leadership for the University’s Office of Advancement of Teaching and Learning. He will report to Anne Veeger, vice provost of academic and faculty initiatives.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Lavan to URI in this new role for the university,” Veeger said. “The Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning has grown significantly since its inception over 10 years ago, and following the retirement of Director Diane Goldsmith in 2021, we recognized a need to re-envision leadership of the office to reflect both the expanded role and to catalyze innovation and collaboration across URI to support both faculty and student success.”

In his new position at URI, Lavan will provide vision and leadership for the Office for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, fostering excellence in teaching, learning, and assessment, including advancement of the diversity, inclusion, and equity missions of URI. He is charged with leading an evidence-based approach to faculty development and assessment, and will contribute to, and support, the scholarship of teaching and learning across the University. He will connect the office’s initiatives to the University’s strategic plan and institutional accreditation goals and serve as the liaison to the provost’s office, deans, associate deans and Informational Technology Services.

Since August 2020, Lavan has held the position of executive director of teaching and learning at Tennessee, where he led the unit responsible for faculty development and faculty success for the university and led the reorganization and re-launching of Teaching and Learning Innovation in the Office of the Provost. In January of 2023, he was also appointed as associate vice provost of faculty affairs in addition to his role as director.

Prior to his role as associate provost and executive director at Tennessee, he served as assistant provost of experiential learning and teaching innovation from January 2018 to July 2020, and before that as director of experience learning from January 2016 to January 2018.

Prior to his time at Tennessee, he worked at Centenary College of Louisiana for over seven years as director of global engagement, director of community and intercultural engagement, and director of service learning.

Among his additional accomplishments, Lavan led and provided oversight for two institution-wide strategic plans focused on student learning, which were tied to each institution’s accreditation; taught college-level courses for six years; and he worked with faculty to create and redesign courses at two different institutions for more than 12 years.

Lavan holds a Ph.D. in urban higher education from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, and a master’s degree in public administration from Louisiana State University. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Centenary College.