Georgia State University President M. Brian Blake sent the following message to the students, faculty and staff of the institution on Wednesday, Oct. 20.
To the university community,
I am writing to inform you that Wendy Hensel, who has served as provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs since 2019, will step down as provost at the end of the calendar year. I am honored that she has agreed to continue to serve as Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives. I look forward to her support and guidance as we chart the next chapter for Georgia State.
Based on my experience, it is absolutely clear that Provost Hensel has made superb contributions. Provost Hensel has led Georgia State’s academic enterprise through some of our most challenging times as an institution. I am so deeply grateful for her leadership, service and expertise.
As the university’s chief academic officer, Provost Hensel was responsible for the development, implementation, and quality of the university’s academic programs and policies in its academic and academic support units. During her time in the role, she directed the formation and execution of action plans to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the university, with the goal of setting Georgia State on the path to becoming a national leader in this area. Using an approach combining data analytics, open communication, transparency and community engagement, the university has made significant progress in creating a university for all. She committed to a cycle of continuous improvement in faculty satisfaction using best-in-class surveys and a set of action plans that evolve every three years to meet emerging concerns on campus.
Provost Hensel developed the university’s first strategic efforts to grow online degrees to meet the needs of students in every modality and in every location. In just two years, the university has increased the number of fully online programs by 45 percent and launched Georgia State Online, which is designed to enroll and support virtual adult learners. She also has worked closely with the Office of Student Success to build educational supports and services that address the specific, unique needs of online learners.
Shortly into her tenure, Provost Hensel led the university’s academic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Serving as a key member of Georgia State’s COVID-19 Task Force, she led the university’s quick shift from in-person classes to a distance learning model and ensured that more than 3,000 faculty received training to deliver high-quality courses in a digital environment.
Prior to her appointment as Provost, she served as Interim and full Dean of the College of Law as well as the first Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. In these leadership positions, she spearheaded the development of academic programming and curriculum to meet the needs of the future, expanded online course development and teaching excellence, grew interdisciplinary research and scholarship, and created a comprehensive system of faculty development and research support. She also led the formation of the College of Law’s 2014-2020 Strategic Plan and the Institutional Learning Outcomes Initiative in the college, which created a comprehensive eight-year assessment cycle to evaluate and strengthen curriculum. She worked to boost the College’s profile among law schools and implemented a national strategy of alumni development and engagement.
Provost Hensel is a noted scholar in the areas of disability law, policy and ethics in American society. An expert on employment discrimination and special education, her scholarship has appeared in leading books, peer-reviewed publications and law reviews. Her work has been cited by courts, national media outlets and interdisciplinary scholars, both nationally and internationally.
Please join me in thanking Provost Hensel for her incredible work at Georgia State.
An interim will be named in the coming weeks and a national search started in the spring semester.
M. Brian Blake