The following message was sent to the university community by President Kenneth A. Jessell.
Dear members of the university community:
Approximately one year ago, I wrote to you regarding our moment of transition as a university community and how we would come together and walk a path of academic excellence and innovation.
We have accomplished much in the past year, proving, yet again, that FIU’s potential is limitless. One of the ways we ensure our continued forward movement is to identify and retain the best talent to help meet the challenges of our time.
As such, I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Elizabeth M. Béjar as our next provost, executive vice president and chief operating oficer.
Dr. Béjar’s understanding of the dynamics of higher education administration, alongside her ability to lead and meet opportunities and challenges with confidence, integrity and responsibility, are unparalleled. Committed to the success of our students and our faculty, Dr. Béjar has advocated for faculty-initiated improvements to our academic programs at both the FIU Board of Trustees and the Florida Board of Governors. Dr. Béjar believes strongly in the value proposition of anchor public research universities and the critical role faculty have in the academy today and is dedicated to ensuring that our students are prepared for the careers of today and tomorrow, are global citizens and are able to achieve their goals.
Dr. Béjar is also a trailblazer as the first Hispanic and first alumna to serve as provost. She came to FIU in 2003, and in 2009 became our first vice provost for Academic Planning and Accountability. Five years later, she was named vice president of Academic Affairs.
In 2018, when FIU merged student affairs with academic affairs, she was named senior vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. She initiated the innovative educational redesign that has now become a model for success. Dr. Béjar provided strategic oversight and guidance in mobilizing and collaborating with teams of education professionals to research, pilot, develop and implement 21st-century higher education initiatives focused on the academy.
During her time at FIU, Dr. Béjar has served as principal investigator on several grants. This year, she received a $975,000 Department of Education grant to build on the success of completion grants and financial wellness programming to re-enroll students who stopped out during the pandemic or are at risk of stopping out. She has spearheaded efforts that have increased our four-year graduation rate to nearly 60 percent - a histor high for FIU.
In the past few months, Dr. Béjar has led the re-organization of the Office of Engagement, which has become the Center for Community Impact and Public Purpose focused on aligning engagement opportunities related to faculty, staff and external partnerships. Our focus continues to be on efficacy and efficiency through shared services with the goal of achieving savings to ensure we have funding to invest in faculty and student success.
She also appointed two deans – Dr. Juan C. Cendan in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and Dr. William G. Hardin in the College of Business. She is supporting searches for deans for the libraries and the Green School of International and Public Affairs.
Dr. Béjar earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Boston College, a master’s in international and intercultural development education from FIU and a bachelor’s in psychology and elementary education from the University of Miami.
I believe Dr. Béjar’s vision, experience and dedication will continue to fuel excellence in research, teaching and student success. Together, we commit to fully supporting the upward trajectory of our research enterprise and our goal of $400 million in research expenditures guided by the FIU Next Horizon 2025 Strategic Plan.
We are innovators on a path of success. As a community focused on solving some of the greatest challenges of our time, we are dedicated to our vision and to keep achieving excellence in everything we do.
Please join me in congratulating and supporting Dr. Béjar.
Thank you for your commitment to FIU.
Kenneth A. JessellPresident