University of Delaware
James Richards

New assignments

Three named to new posts in the Office of the Provost


4:23 p.m., Feb. 4, 2013--Three new assignments in the Office of the Provost have been announced by Interim Provost Nancy Brickhouse.

James Richards, Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology, has been named vice provost for graduate and professional education; John Sawyer, professor of business administration at UD, is interim associate provost for institutional research and effectiveness; and Ravi Ammigan, now assistant director for programming and communications in the Office for International Students and Scholars at Michigan State University, has been named director of the Office of International Students and Scholars. 

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Richards' and Sawyer's appointments were effective Feb. 1, and Ammigan will join UD May 1. 

James Richards

"Jim Richards' credentials as a highly regarded educator, researcher and mentor to graduate students will serve him well in this new role," Brickhouse said. "Among his many achievements, he played a significant leadership role in conceiving and building UD's highly successful graduate Interdisciplinary Biomechanics and Movement Science degree program and served as its director for its first five years. The University has established itself as a premier research and graduate institution, and Jim's in-depth knowledge about graduate education will help us take the next steps." 

The vice provost for graduate and professional education reports to the provost and works closely with deans, department chairs and graduate program directors to provide leadership supporting the continued enhancement of graduate and professional education and postdoctoral studies.  

A member of the UD faculty since 1980, Richards has served as Distinguished Professor since 2003 and has held leadership roles in the College of Health Sciences, including terms as deputy dean and associate dean. For seven years, he served as the chair/coordinator for graduate studies for Exercise Science. A former president of the Faculty Senate, he has been active in numerous University-wide committees. 

His research in the areas of sports biomechanics and rehabilitation biomechanics is well-known internationally and has attracted funding support from several agencies and organizations, among them Apple, Reebok, the A.I. du Pont Institute and the U.S. Olympic Committee. He has chaired more than 40 master's thesis committees and more than five doctoral dissertation committees.  

A graduate of the University of Connecticut, he earned his master's degree in biomechanicsfrom UD and his doctoral degree from Indiana University. 

John Sawyer

"This position is key to the University's compliance with federal and state reporting requirements and in assisting the University to meet the demands from accrediting organizations," Brickhouse said. "But it is also key to implementation of the Path to Prominence and the President's Diversity Initiative, for example. John Sawyer brings a faculty perspective to this important position, along with demonstrated expertise in using data to inform decisions that drive organizational change. His leadership skills will be major assets in driving improvements in this arena." 

Reporting to the deputy provost, the associate provost for institutional research and effectiveness oversees the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and the Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence Report Team, serves as the University's accreditation liaison officer to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and works with deans, vice provost, department chairs and other academic leaders to assess and address information needs related to strategic planning. 

Sawyer joined the UD Department of Business Administration in 1991. In addition to his faculty position, he served as associate provost for professional education in the Office of Graduate and Professional Education since 2009-12, and he was a faculty fellow and director of Professional Education Initiatives from 2008-09. Sawyer served as chair of the Department of Business Administration from 2001-06 and was the founder and director of the Master of Science Program in Organizational Effectiveness, Development and Change from 2005-12. 

His research interests include organizational culture change, team and virtual team performance and decision-making, diversity in teams, creativity in organizations and survey measurement methodology. He serves on editorial boards of four journals in the management sciences and has held research grants from NSF, the Army Research Institute and several corporate contracts. 

He received his bachelor's degree from California State University Long Beach, his master's from California State University Fresno and his doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Ravi Ammigan

"As we work toward increasing the globalization of our campus by bringing more international students and scholars to Delaware, it is essential that they are successful here. The Office for International Students and Scholars will play a critical part in ensuring a smooth transition for them and supporting their success," Brickhouse said. "Ravi Ammigan brings to this new appointment extensive experience in this field and has a demonstrated record of achievement. His dedication to international work is paired with a detailed knowledge of U.S. immigration regulations and legal standards."

Reporting to the associate provost for international programs, the director of the Office of International Students and Scholars administers a University-wide program to provide information and a broad array of services to approximately 3,500 international students and scholars. 

Ammigan has been affiliated with the Office for International Students and Scholars at Michigan State University since 2003, serving in his current post since 2007.  In that role, he works to develop, implement and promote immigration and acculturation resources for more than 7,000 international students and scholars. He also creates and implements communication and marketing strategies to reach and support the international community there and advises students on immigration regulations and other issues related to their visa status in the United States. 

He earned his bachelor of arts in business at Kendall College and his master of arts in communication from Michigan State University. 

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