Cowart Named Vice Provost, Awarded ACE Fellowship

Professor of Philosophy Monica Cowart has been appointed vice provost and awarded an American Council on Education fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year, Provost Allan Weatherwax said.

Cowart, who has served since 2014 as associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts, is the fifth Merrimack administrator in six years to be nominated as an ACE fellow by President Christopher Hopey.

“With this dual role, Monica will advance the work of the provost’s office even as she studies and brings best practices from outside Merrimack back to benefit the college,” Weatherwax said.

The fellows program was established in 1965 to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education. The program identifies and prepares emerging leaders for senior positions in college and university administration.

“This fellowship will allow me to build my knowledge base about higher-education administration, for which I’m very grateful to ACE,” said Cowart, who joined the Merrimack faculty in 2000. “I am also extraordinarily grateful to President Hopey for his nomination, and to Merrimack for the opportunities it has afforded me to contribute to my field, to our students and to the tremendous momentum of this institution.”

As associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Cowart she was instrumental in creating the college’s graduate program in clinical mental-health counseling and has been a key figure in the school’s initiatives in interdisciplinary academics.

Previous ACE fellowships were awarded to Vice Provost Kerry Johnson, School of Science and Engineering Dean Cynthia McGowan, former vice president Russ Mayer and chief internationalization officer Patricia Sendall. Professor emerita Geraldine Branca was the college’s first ACE Fellow, in 1978.

“We have enormous respect for ACE and particularly for its Fellows Program,” said Hopey, a longtime member of the organization. “Merrimack continues to grow and evolve, and needs experienced leaders to help continue our momentum. Monica will return to the college with fresh insights, as did Kerry, Cindy, Russ and Pat before her, and the college will be stronger.”

Cowart, of Andover, Massachusetts, holds a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is a licensed mental health counselor.