Lynn Okagaki, dean of UD's College of Education and Human Development, will serve as interim deputy provost for academic affairs, effective July 1.

New appointment

Lynn Okagaki to serve as interim deputy provost


2:45 p.m., April 6, 2015--Lynn Okagaki, dean of the University of Delaware College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) since 2011, has agreed to serve as interim deputy provost for academic affairs. She will fill the vacancy left by Nancy Brickhouse, who recently announced her plans to become provost at Saint Louis University in Missouri. 

Brickhouse will assume her post as SLU’s chief academic officer on July 1, at which time Okagaki will officially take her seat in the provost’s office. 

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“I am honored to join the provost’s office during this exciting time at the University of Delaware,” Okagaki said. “As we celebrate 100 years of women at Delaware, we are focused on encouraging more women and underrepresented groups in STEM fields. We have attracted the second largest number of applicants in UD's history, with historic numbers of applicants from underrepresented groups. There are a lot of great changes taking place that will fortify our success.”

As UD begins to unveil its new strategic plan in coming weeks, refine its budget model and enhance academic programs, Provost Domenico Grasso said he is confident in Okagaki’s ability to help strengthen the leadership position of the University locally, nationally and globally.

“Many initiatives currently set in motion are essential to our future success, and they require a special leader with a collaborative approach to getting things done,” said Grasso. “We are glad to have someone of Lynn’s caliber who has credibility with faculty and the trust of our campus community to help drive us forward in our relentless commitment to excellence.” 

A full-scale internal search to permanently fill the deputy provost seat will be conducted in the fall. A search chair and committee will be named at a later date. 

Armed with a broad portfolio of experiences — in academic research and national education policymaking, spanning across the government sector and academia — Okagaki has successfully led a college that boasts strong programs, distinguished faculty and a graduate education school ranked among the nation’s top-40 programs. CEHD’s network of community partners and dynamic, community-based research helped the University of Delaware achieve the recent Community Engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Prior to joining the University of Delaware, Okagaki was commissioner for Education Research in the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Under her leadership, the institute nearly doubled its research grant activities and launched several innovative research programs. 

She initiated the Evaluation of State and Local Education Programs and Policies to encourage states and districts to evaluate methods to improve education for their students. She created the $100 million Reading for Understanding Research Initiative to accelerate research to improve reading comprehension from pre-kindergarten through high school.

Okagaki received her bachelor’s degree in applied behavioral sciences from the University of California at Davis and her doctorate in developmental psychology from Cornell University. She has served as associate dean of the School of Consumer and Family Science and professor of child development and family studies at Purdue University and held appointments at Yale University, Cornell University and the University of Houston. 

“As I leave one amazing university for another, I know the important work we do each day will be in capable hands with Lynn,” added Brickhouse. 

Vukelich named interim replacement for Okagaki in CEHD

When Okagaki moves into her new office at Hullihen Hall, Carol Vukelich, currently CEHD deputy dean, will take the helm at the college. 

Vukelich is the L. Sandra and Bruce L. Hammonds Professor in Teacher Education, and director of the Delaware Center for Teacher Education. A recipient of the University’s Excellence in Teaching award, her research and teaching interests include children’s early literacy development and teachers’ professional development, specifically coaching and reflection strategies.  

Article by Jawanza Ali Keita

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