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Cabinet | Vice President for Academic Affairs

Jeannine Uzzi,



Dr. Uzzi joins us from the University of Southern Maine (USM) where she currently serves as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. Hired as Interim Provost at USM in 2015, her portfolio was expanded over the years to lead student affairs, public safety, and most recently athletics, in addition to academic affairs. At USM, she played a critical role in helping the institution recover from financial distress, re-engaging faculty in governance, and developing a new academic vision for the university. With her leadership, USM increased student enrollment, retention, and completion; she contributed to fundraising success as well. Dr. Uzzi has been a strong and consistent champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion at USM and in the University of Maine System. She instituted USM’s first Common Read, kicking off the program with Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Anti-Racist. After focused programming and other efforts to confront structural oppression in hiring and other domains, Professor Kendi accepted her invitation to be USM’s commencement speaker in 2021.

Dr. Uzzi is an experienced higher education leader and a distinguished professor of classics. Prior to her work at USM, she served as Director of Faculty Programs for the Associated Colleges of the South where she facilitated collaborative grants and other partnership programs across the consortium’s 16 independent colleges. As a faculty member at USM, she was Chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures and was Chair of Faculty Senate. She began her career at Whitman College as Assistant Professor of Classics and General Studies. Among her achievements in curriculum development is an online degree completion major in interdisciplinary humanities for adult learners.

An accomplished researcher, writer, and speaker, she has two books with Cambridge University Press in addition to other scholarly and popular works on a variety of topics from Roman political ideology to Latin lyric poetry, and she has spoken and written on the practical application of her discipline beyond the academy. In 2020, she received international recognition for her advocacy and support for academic advising in the form of NACADA’s Michael C. Holen Pacesetter Award, and in 2022, she was recognized at USM for Excellence in Feminist Social, Intellectual, Political, and Cultural Practice with the Nancy K. Gish Award.

Dr. Uzzi earned a bachelor of arts in classical languages at Hamilton College and a doctorate in classical studies at Duke University, where as a graduate student she was named the William H. Willis Instructor of Classical Studies. She is an alumna of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, and she completed the American Council on Education’s Institute for New Chief Academic Officers, as well as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Millennium Leadership Institute. Dr. Uzzi’s primary community partner is the Maine Humanities Council, through which she offers reading groups on classical literature to combat veterans in partnership with the Portland Veterans’ Center. She also serves on the steering committee for the educational advocacy group Portland ConnectEd and is the pronouncer for the Maine State Spelling Bee.

Dr. Uzzi enjoys being outdoors, whether running, rowing, biking, hiking, or snowshoeing; she practices yoga and is trained in trauma-informed group facilitation. Dr. Uzzi is Board President of the Gym Dandies Children’s Circus, an inclusive circus arts program in which both her children have participated. Her partner Heather Sawyer recently accepted the executive directorship of the non-profit American Oversight after 13 years on Capitol Hill and a distinguished career at Lambda Legal here in Chicago. Her daughter is a rising senior at Grinnell College, and her son will be a junior in high school this fall.

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