Announcement – David Olan

July 13, 2022

David Olan will be leaving his position as Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Affairs and returning to the Music faculty, effective August 24, 2022.

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As many of you know, David Olan will be leaving his position as Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Affairs and returning to the Music faculty, effective August 24, 2022. He has served in these positions for nine years, promoting and supporting the academic goals of the Graduate Center and faculty, students, and staff. His insight into and awareness of the challenges facing graduate education and his many efforts to further the academic mission of the Graduate Center will have a lasting impact.

It is impossible to list all the projects and initiatives that David successfully guided during his tenure as associate provost, but there are some highlights that merit particular attention.

David led the effort responsible for the excellent outcome of the Middle States accreditation remote site visit in October 2022. The self-study involved a thorough analysis of the Graduate Center and its processes, which included three years of advance planning and collaboration with faculty, staff, students, and the deans of the University Center schools.

The Graduate School and University Center met the seven standards of accreditation, with commendations given to six of the standards. This was one of the best results for a CUNY college in recent years.

He played an important role on three multi-million dollar grants from the Mellon Foundation and will continue to serve as principal investigator on the two current grants in the coming year.

The first $3.15 million grant was to create and fund the Humanities Alliance with LaGuardia Community College to prepare doctoral students to teach in community colleges. This was followed by a second $3.15 million grant that expanded the Humanities Alliance to three additional CUNY community colleges: Borough of Manhattan Community College, Guttman Community College, and Hostos Community College. The aim of this larger alliance was to create new professional and academic opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds who will be trained to provide a wide range of academic support at the community colleges. This second grant also includes the CUNY Peer Leaders program, which supports CUNY undergraduate students’ scholarship and creative work in the humanities and supports them in developing leadership skills to implement within their communities and colleges.

He also played an important role in developing the Mellon-funded ($2.65 million) project Transforming Doctoral Education for the Public Good, which created the PublicsLab, whose aim is to prepare doctoral students in the humanities for careers beyond the academy and to produce and share scholarship that contributes to the public good. The PublicsLab supports seminars, internships, workshops, and residencies by visiting practitioners that provide doctoral students with a versatile range of skills and perspectives.

These grants have provided multiple opportunities for students to explore new paths in doctoral education as well as significant fellowship support for a number of students.

Before closing, I also want to note that David is a composer of numerous well-regarded works and has had a special interest in composing pieces for live performers and prerecorded tape. Among his awards are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts as well as commissions from the Jerome Foundation and the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress.

Please join us in celebrating David’s significant achievements and wishing him well on his return to the faculty.


Steve Everett
Provost and Senior Vice President