Baruch College Appoints Linda Essig, MFA, PhD, as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
May 5, 2021
Baruch College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY), announced the appointment of Linda Essig, MFA, PhD, as the new Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective July 1, 2021, pending approval from the CUNY Board of Trustees.
She will join Baruch after an extensive national search—with active engagement and strong endorsement from faculty, staff, and students throughout the College.
“Dr. Essig will join Baruch at a critical moment in the College’s history—as the College emerges ever stronger from the pandemic,” said S. David Wu, PhD, President of Baruch College. “Baruch has differentiated itself as a top-performing institution with a rich tradition of academic excellence, accessibility, and upward mobility for students from every socioeconomic background.”
President Wu added, “With national rankings and accolades affirming what is now a distinctive niche, Baruch shall emerge as a new model for higher education: Institutions that insist on academic excellence at the highest level while expanding their base to support the success for historically underserved students in a rigorous intellectual environment. The appointment of Dr. Linda Essig as Provost is key to that vision.”
Upon accepting the position, Dr. Essig said “I am excited about the possibilities of building what’s next for Baruch in collaboration with President Wu, the faculty, staff, and students of the College, and its community stakeholders. New York is my hometown; although I left it to take my first teaching position at University of Wisconsin-Madison, the city has never left me. I’m eager to return and play a leadership role to help shape the near- and long-term future of Baruch College.”
Propelling Baruch Forward
As President Wu’s leadership partner in the effort to position Baruch for the future, Dr. Essig will embrace a newly defined position that includes responsibility for all academic, research, and creative work of the College. Her focus will include continued academic excellence through curricular innovation, increased effectiveness through streamlined academic operations, enhanced student success through integrated services, increased research vitality through interdisciplinary collaboration, and the elevation of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the College.
Working closely with the College community, Dr. Essig will explore models and instructional modalities that ensure student learning outcomes and support for faculty. Working with senior leadership of the College, she will integrate academic priorities into all major campus planning and decision-making, including student services, research infrastructure and support, facilities planning, information technology, resource allocation, and fundraising.
The College’s three schools – the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, the George and Mildred Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and the Zicklin School of Business – together educate more than 19,500 students and serve as the College’s academic core.
An Experienced Committed Leader
Dr. Essig’s distinguished career spans more than three decades as a faculty member and administrator at major public institutions, including the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Arizona State University, and California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA). As an academic leader, she has focused on the mission of inclusive and transformational education, especially for traditionally underserved students.
Dr. Essig holds a PhD in public administration and public policy from Arizona State University and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. A multi-disciplinarian, she has an impressive track record in fostering academic innovation through interdisciplinary partnership, and her scholarship and teaching experience have focused on cultural entrepreneurship and innovation and lighting design.
In her current position as dean of Cal State LA’s College of Arts & Letters, Dr. Essig is responsible for nine academic departments, four centers, and the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery. Prior to Cal State LA, her leadership roles include founding director of Arizona State University’s then School of Theatre and Film, director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs for ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and chair of the Department of Theatre and Drama and director of University Theatre at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Dr. Essig has been published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and has authored four books, including the forthcoming Creative Infrastructures: Artists, Money, and Entrepreneurial Action. Formerly a professional lighting designer, Dr. Essig has designed for theaters throughout the country. For Dr. Essig’s curriculum vitae, see here.
Starting the New Academic Year with Strength
As Dr. Essig noted in the search process and during the open forums with faculty, students and staff, “My career aligns strongly with Baruch’s schools. With a background in theater and design, I will hold a tenure position in the Weissman School and my expertise in cultural entrepreneurship and doctorate in public administration and policy align nicely with Zicklin and Marxe.”
“Provost-elect Essig is committing to Baruch College because of our unique story and tremendous potential,” said President Wu. “She will be a key figure in our future as Baruch and New York City, her hometown, recover from the pandemic and as we establish Baruch College as a national model for academic excellence, access, and social mobility.”