Interim-President Workman resigns from RWU, accepts new position in Pennsylvania

Kayla Ebner | Editor-in-Chief


Public Affairs just announced that Dr. Andy Workman has accepted a position as Provost at Widener University in Pennsylvania and will be leaving RWU on June 30. To fill the 50-day gap between his departure and President-Designate Miaoulis’ start as RWU’s new leader, Tim Baxter, chair of the Board of Trustees, agreed to serve as acting president.

“Over this summer period, I will be engaged with University leadership and will be in constant consultation with President-Designate Miaoulis and Cabinet members on any priority campus matters that may emerge,” Baxter said in the campus-wide announcement.

Workman joined the RWU community as provost and senior vice president in July 2012 after spending 19 years at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. In his position as provost, he oversaw all academic affairs responsibilities for RWU for six years at the university.

After the sudden passing of President Donald Farish on July 5, 2018, Workman was voted Interim President by the Board of Trustees.

June Speakman, professor of political science, has been in various leadership positions at RWU where she has interacted with Workman on “a number of issues” during his time at the university.  

“As is often the case in faculty-administration relations, we haven’t always agreed on issues, but have worked them out,” she said. “I do truly wish him and Mary Beth well in their new adventure.”

At RWU, Workman led a “five-year undertaking to transform the school’s first-year experience and advising programs.” According to his profile on the RWU website, this effort led to a 10 percent increase in first- to second-year retention rate.

Workman received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and social theory in 1983 from New College of Florida, and holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Workman’s higher education experience began in 1993 when he joined Mills College as assistant professor of history. Eventually, he became the chair of the department of history. In 2002, Workman became dean of social sciences and rose to associate dean of academic planning and development, then associate provost for academic affairs.

At Mills, he doubled the number of faculty research proposals and increased total sponsored research from $8 million to $20 million.  

At RWU, Workman was hired by Farish and worked beside him until his death, when he told The Hawks’ Herald he wanted to “build on his legacy.”

Renee Soto, faculty senate vice-president of academic affairs, shared how she got to know Workman closely over the years through various meetings and events 

“It was enlightening to work so closely with him on matters regarding transparency in shared governance, particularly regarding issues related to curriculum, enrollment and retention, University College, and the campus Master Plan at such an important time at RWU,” she said. “…we have come to share stories and advice about our home gardens, particularly Andy’s expertise with dahlias and where to buy the best bulbs (Brent & Becky’s in Gloucester, Virginia). I wish him the very best in his next adventure. 

Other faculty members shared their experiences with Workman since he joined RWU.

“Our primary relationship has been professional through my work as faculty senate president these last couple years and other leadership positions at the university,” said Susan Bosco, professor of management. “We’ve had the opportunity to work on concerns brought to him by faculty senate committees. I wish him a lot of luck in his new role and I’m sure he will be successful.”

Laura D’Amore, associate professor of American studies, said she worked closely with the Interim-President on several important initiatives. 

“Though I am sorry to see him leave, I wish the best for him in his new position… He was especially supportive of faculty-led efforts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as faculty input in shaping the search process for an inaugural dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Education.  He is an advocate of shared governance, and in my time on the Faculty Senate, he worked to create transparency and clarity of administrative processes,” she said.  

The next step for the university will be finding a new Provost, which for the time being, will be held by Acting Provost Robert Cole. According to Baxter, after Aug. 19, Dr. Cole will “return to the faculty and his service as chair of the department of communication, graphic design, and web development.”


A national search for a new Provost will begin once the university implements a “leadership structure” that will help provide stability during the 2019-20 academic year.


“I personally learned a great deal about Roger Williams during our recent presidential search and the campus desire for as open, inclusive, and transparent a process as possible. President Miaoulis and I both intend to continue the spirit and collegiality we achieved in the presidential search in this search for our next Provost,” said Baxter.


Updated 5 p.m., April 18.