By Steven Viera, News Editor ||

The College announced last week that Joel Martin, vice provost for academic personnel and dean of the faculty at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will become F&M’s new provost and dean of the faculty, starting this Summer. During the 1980s and 90s, Martin served as a professor and, eventually, department chair of the religious studies department here at F&M.

Currently, Joseph Karlesky, the John C. and Katherine S. Kunkel professor of government, serves as the interim provost and dean of the faculty, a position he has held for one year. Karlesky succeeded Ann Steiner, the Shirley Watkins professor of classics, who served as provost from 2006 until 2013, when she left the office to conduct research and return to teaching.

In order to find a permanent replacement for Steiner, an advisory search committee was formed, headed by Lisa Gasbarrone, professor of French and chair of the International Studies program. Dan Porterfield, President of the College, thanked her and other members of the selection process in an address to faculty and staff.

Martin’s selection as provost comes after major changes to F&M’s administration as there have been several appointments to major leadership positions of the

College in recent years: In March 2011, Porterfield became F&M’s new president, and in the Summer of 2013, Margaret Hazlett, former senior associate dean of student affairs at Bowdoin College, became F&M’s new dean of the College.

“I was thrilled to be invited to visit the campus as a finalist and came away impressed not only about the College’s recent transformations and aspirations for the future but also by how the faculty, administration, and trustees all expressed their bone-deep commitment to the longstanding mission of superior teaching and research that defines the best liberal arts colleges,” Martin said, according to the article on F&M’s news

A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College, Harvard University, and Duke University, Martin served as a professor of religious studies from 1988 to 1996 at F&M before serving as chair of the department from 1996 to 2000, a professor and department chair in religious studies at the University of California, Riverside, interim dean of UC Riverside’s College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at UMass Amherst, before assuming his current role as Amherst’s vice provost for academic personnel and dean of the faculty.

Additionally, according to the article “Former Department Chair Joel Martin Returns to F&M as New Provost,” on F&M’s news website, Martin’s résumé includes fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Princeton University, the U.S. Department of Education (Jacob K. Javitz and National Graduate Fellowships), Duke University (Kearns Graduate Fellowship), and Rotary

Martin has also written or edited four books, including Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World, which was named outstanding book of 1991 on the subject of human rights by the Gustav Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights, as well as writing in academic journals.

“I look forward to Joel’s return to campus in the coming weeks and to celebrating his appointment with all of you in the Fall,” Porterfield said in his address to faculty and professional staff.

Martin will return to the College mid-Summer to begin officially serving in his capacity as provost and dean of the faculty.

Sophomore Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is