They may be new to their respective roles, but Iris Levine, Sara Garver and Hend “Hinda” Gilli-Elewy are experienced when it comes to campus leadership.
Cal Poly Pomona is tapping into their experience and dedication to ensuring student success, appointing them to serve in the interim posts of provost, dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences and dean of the College of Education and Integrative Studies, respectively.
Levine, who most recently served as the dean of CLASS, assumed the role of interim provost on Aug. 4 after the departure of Sylvia Alva, who was appointed executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for the California State University system.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as the interim provost,” Levine said. “I am excited to work with the dynamic and exceptional leadership team in Academic Affairs. I have taken such care and pride in aligning my core values with those of the university – it’s thrilling to be part of the team to lead the university boldly into a vibrant future.”
Levine began teaching choral music in Cal Poly Pomona’s music department in 1990. She became a full professor in 2000, and during that same year, she was the department’s youngest faculty member and also asked to serve as department chair. In 2015, Levine successfully completed a $2.5 million campaign to buy and provide maintenance for 30 new Steinway & Sons pianos, a move that gave the university an “all-Steinway school” distinction.
In August 2017, Levine was selected to serve as interim dean of CLASS. During her tenure, she oversaw the strategic planning process for the college and collaborated with the Division of Student Affairs on an innovative “personal coaching program” designed to improve student retention rates. After a national search, Levine was named dean of CLASS in 2018. After a national search, she took on the additional role of dean of CEIS in January.
Alva lauded Levine for her dedication and breadth of knowledge.
“I think she is the right person at the right time at Cal Poly Pomona,” Alva said. “She knows the campus. She has been an active and valued partner in much of the work that we do. She will build on the momentum but add her own contributions and flair to that work. I acknowledge her commitment to people first and the important values of inclusion and equity. It will be smooth transition because we share those values.”
The Boston native, who earned her bachelor’s degree in music at the University of New Hampshire, her master’s degree in choral conducting at Temple University in Philadelphia and her doctorate at USC, also serves as artistic director of VOX Femina, a Los Angeles-based choral ensemble with a focus on female empowerment and a mission to affirm the humanity and dignity of all.
A national search for a permanent vice president of academic affairs and provost will commence in the fall.
Garver comes to the post of interim dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences after serving as the college’s associate dean of academic programs and student success for the past 5 ½ years. She also is a professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology and began her career at Cal Poly Pomona in 1997. Garver, who earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UC Santa Barbara, has also served as interim director of the Kellogg Honors College, had various roles on the Academic Senate, and was co-chair of the semester conversion curriculum committee.
“I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences for the 2021-22 academic year,” Garver said. “I have spent my entire academic career in CLASS, both as a faculty member and associate dean, and I’m deeply committed to our work on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the college, as well as our strong commitment to student success.”
Gilli-Elewy, who was named associate dean of CEIS in 2018, came to Cal Poly Pomona as a lecturer in the history department in 2000. The expert in Islamic studies became an assistant professor in 2005, an associate professor in 2012 and a full professor in 2018. She also served as interim chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary General Education.
Gilli-Elewy earned her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Cologne in Germany. She also conducted independent research for her doctoral studies at Sorbonne University and the Institut National des Langues Orientales in Paris, France.
“I am honored to serve as interim dean and excited to work with the college’s extraordinary leadership team, faculty, staff, students, as well as our community and district partners in this role,” she said. “I look forward to continuing the significant work we are engaged in, to building on what has been achieved, and to maintaining our commitment to a diverse and inclusive community.