Following an extensive and highly competitive national search, the University of Puget Sound has named Laura L. Behling as provost effective July 15, 2019. Behling succeeds long-serving Provost Kristine Bartanen, the first woman to hold the post, and comes to Puget Sound from Knox College in Illinois. She is an English professor and previously served as vice president for the college's academic affairs and dean.
“Dr. Behling is a highly regarded, innovative, and strategic academic leader who embraces the call to be bold and forward-looking in meeting the needs of current and future generations of students,” said President Isiaah Crawford. “She is a strong addition to our leadership team, and we look forward to partnering with her to advance our curriculum; support our faculty and staff; expand and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; and assist in the enrollment, retention, and success of Puget Sound students.”
Behling brings Puget Sound extensive experience as a teacher, scholar, and administrator. As a senior academic leader at Knox, she led the implementation of new academic and degree programs; expanded a comprehensive faculty development program and processes to improve the hiring of faculty members from underrepresented groups; and developed and implemented a comprehensive retention plan to better address the academic, social, and wellness needs of students.
“I am honored and excited to be joining the University of Puget Sound as its next provost,” Behling said. “I have been impressed by the university’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive campus, by its approach to teaching and learning that values critical and creative thinking across all disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and by its goal to ensure that all students integrate academic and experiential learning into their college experience. I'm looking forward to working closely with President Crawford and his senior leadership team, and the faculty and staff who are dedicated to the success of Puget Sound’s impressive students.”
Before her work at Knox, Behling served as associate provost for faculty affairs at Butler University (Indiana) and professor and chair of the English department and director of the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning Gustavus Adolphus College (Minnesota). She has served as chair of the board of directors of the American Conference of Academic Deans; a Fulbright specialist for the American University in Bulgaria; a proposal reviewer for The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research; chair of the American Fellowships Awards Panel for the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation; a Faculty Fellow for the American Association of Colleges & Universities; and in other professional service leadership roles, in addition to presenting and publishing extensively.
A Fulbright Scholar at Palacký University Olomouc in the Czech Republic, Behling earned an M.A. in English and Ph.D. in English and American literature from The Claremont Graduate University (California), an M.S. in journalism from Boston University, and a B.A. in English from Kalamazoo College (Michigan).