Carbajal named WWU's new provost, academic affairs executive

Brent Carbajal has been appointed to a two-year fixed term as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Western Washington University.

He will begin serving after the current provost, Catherine Riordan, leaves the position in July. Riordan announced her resignation last month.

“I am pleased that Brent Carbajal has accepted the offer to serve as provost at Western for the next two years,” Bruce Shepard, WWU’s president, said, in a press release. “There is no doubt in my mind—and this is supported among broad leadership of our campus—that Brent is the right person to serve as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.”

Carbajal is now dean of WWU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the university’s largest college with 13 academic departments.

WWU currently has more than 14,800 undergraduate students and 650 graduate students, according to the university’s website. With more than 2,100 employees, it is the largest public-sector employer in Whatcom County, and among the region’s largest overall employers, as well.

The provost and vice president for academic affairs is the chief academic officer of the university and has senior leadership responsibility, including policy and decision making for academic programs, faculty, academic relations with other organizations, academic budgets and academic facilities planning.

The provost serves as a member of the senior management team, and also represents the university to appropriate external people and organizations. The provost also serves as a stand-in president for the university when the actual president is unavailable.

Carbajal has master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Washington. He has been at WWU since 1997, serving as a professor of Spanish, as well as spending eight years as chair of the university’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

Prior to WWU, he was an assistant and associate professor of Spanish at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He has published widely in the areas of Latin American literature and culture and Hispanic-American literature and culture.

An interim dean is expected to be named in the near future for WWU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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