University of Washington vice chancellor chosen as Portland State's new provost
Author: By John Kirkland and Kenny Ma, PSU Media & Public Relations
Posted: May 31, 2018
Susan Jeffords, the chief academic officer at the University of Washington Bothell (UW Bothell), has been chosen as Portland State University's new provost. She will begin her new position on Aug. 15.

Jeffords has been UW Bothell's vice chancellor for academic affairs since 2007. During her tenure, she organized a comprehensive 10-year strategic plan for the campus's academic growth; launched a new science initiative; restructured the divisions of enrollment management and student affairs; and developed new initiatives in sustainability, diversity and educational technologies.

Susan Jeffords

Prior to UW Bothell, she was vice provost for global affairs for UW in Seattle. She also was an English professor at UW before becoming chair of the women studies department. She went on to become divisional dean for the social sciences.

"After a long and comprehensive national search that produced many well-qualified candidates, we are very pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Jeffords to lead PSU's academics," former PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi said.  "A proven leader in higher education with decades of accomplishments, she will be a critical addition to our leadership team as PSU continues to grow and serve many diverse Oregonians." 

Jeffords said she is humbled and honored to become PSU's next provost.

"First and foremost, I look forward to helping to move forward the very exciting vision for Portland State to become a model for the kind of global urban university that is central to the future of higher education," she said. "In addition, I look forward to working with the many people I met during my visits to PSU - students, faculty, staff and community members - who shared with me their deep appreciation for the value that PSU brings to students and to the community."

Portland State, Jeffords said, is widely known as an institution that implements innovative ideas to serve students and communities.

"When facing complex issues at the University of Washington, I often found myself saying to colleagues, 'Let's check out what Portland State is doing.' Having a chance to be part of that work, rather than watching from outside, is incredibly exciting to me," she said.

During her academic career, Jeffords led delegations abroad in community-university strategic partnerships and in 1995 was appointed by UW's president as the chair of the International Task Force, which resulted in a university-wide report on the UW's international expertise and current activities. Jeffords also serves on numerous boards that reflect the Seattle metro region's strong international interests.

Jeffords has written and taught broadly in the area of American popular culture, with a particular emphasis on Hollywood film, the Vietnam War and feminism. She is committed to increasing opportunities for more diverse and underrepresented communities to participate actively in higher education, including expanding opportunities for international engagement.

Jeffords said she wants to spend the first months of her tenure at PSU listening to students and faculty, who can share their insights about the university. 

"I especially want to hear about their aspirations for the future and how I can play a role in achieving those visions," she said.

Jeffords received her bachelor's degree in English and psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and master's and doctoral degrees in English from the University of Pennsylvania.