Rebecca Kohn selected as Elon University’s next provost

[Elon University] Rebecca Kohn selected as Elon University’s next provost

The senior vice provost at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, brings more than 20 years of academic and administrative leadership to the position.

Rebecca Kohn, senior vice provost and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, has been selected as Elon University’s next provost and vice president for academic affairs following a national search.

Kohn will join Elon on Jan. 2, 2023, and succeeds Aswani Volety, who was named chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington earlier this year.

An accomplished scholar and researcher in the field of biology, Kohn brings to the position more than 20 years of academic and administrative leadership. She joined the faculty at Arcadia in 2017 as dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences and was named interim provost and special assistant to the president the following year. She became vice provost for academic planning and faculty affairs in 2019 and then took on the role of senior vice provost earlier this year, while continuing to serve as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Kohn holds a doctorate in biology from Johns Hopkins University, where she explored transcriptional regulation, and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Dartmouth College.

“We look forward to welcoming Dr. Kohn to Elon in this important role as we continue working to achieve the goals of the Boldly Elon strategic plan,” said Elon President Connie Ledoux Book. “Throughout her career, Dr. Kohn has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in teaching, student success and innovation in higher education. As a member of the provost’s team at Arcadia, she has worked to ensure faculty had the tools and resources necessary to develop as teachers, scholars and mentors. Her vision and commitment to students and faculty will help propel Elon forward in the years ahead.”

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Kohn to Elon in this important role as we continue working to achieve the goals of the Boldly Elon strategic plan.

President Connie Ledoux Book

Deeply involved in the development of new academic programs, Kohn has provided support for the growth of existing disciplines and advanced collaboration across academic and co-curricular areas. She has received several million dollars in grant funding during her career and currently leads the implementation of a program to support the retention of low-income students funded by a $2.25 million grant. She co-chaired the president’s Student Experience Task Force and contributed to the development of the new Division of Student Success.

Kohn played a vital role in building a culture that supports faculty success and helps ensure faculty members have clear paths for scholarly, professional and pedagogical development. With teams of colleagues, she provided leadership for two of Arcadia’s anti-Black racism initiatives, including the establishment of a Center for Anti-Racist Scholarship, Advocacy and Action, and was part of the president’s commission tasked with reviewing the university’s policies and practices through the lens of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

As dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, she has led academic programs in 10 departments made up of 26 academic units serving both undergraduate and graduate students, and has been involved in strategic initiatives to expand graduate enrollment and increase the number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

“I am grateful and honored to join the Elon University community,” Kohn said. “The work I have prioritized throughout my career on developing innovative programs and enhancing the experiences of students, faculty members, and staff members resonates with the initiatives that Elon University is pursuing through Boldly Elon. I look forward to contributing my leadership skills to the important endeavors that are in progress and that will emerge in the future.”

Book announced Kohn’s selection on Nov. 3 after receiving recommendations from a 23-member search committee co-chaired by Janet Williams, vice president for finance and administration, and Jason Husser, associate professor of political science and policy studies and director of the Elon Poll. As part of the search process, the committee conducted a survey among members of the university community about the qualities they would like to see in Elon’s next provost.

The search process produced a deep pool of qualified candidates, with the search committee inviting three finalists to campus in October for presentations, small-group sessions and one-on-one meetings. The search was conducted with assistance from AGB Search, an executive search firm with extensive experience in high-profile higher education leadership searches.

“Thank you to members of the search committee, who dedicated their time and talents to this very important process, and to co-chairs Williams and Husser for their leadership,” Book said. “Their work was critical to identifying the best possible candidate and selecting a new provost who will advance Elon’s culture, values and vision.”

Before joining Arcadia College, Kohn spent eighteen years as a member of the faculty at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, where she achieved the status of full professor of biology. As a Fulbright Fellow in 2007, she developed a collaborative research program at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile. While a postdoctoral fellow at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, she developed a neuroscience research program, including experiments designed to be accessible to undergraduate researchers.

Kohn and her spouse, Rick, look forward to moving to North Carolina. Their sons, one of whom is a junior in college and the other a first-year student, will join them here frequently.

About Rebecca Kohn


Johns Hopkins University — Ph.D. in Biology, 1996

Dartmouth College — A.B. in Biochemistry, 1990

Professional Experience

2022-present — Senior Vice Provost, Arcadia University

2017-present — Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Arcadia University

2019-22 — Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Faculty Affairs, Arcadia

2018-19 — Interim Provost/Special Assistant to the President, Arcadia

2013-17 — Assistant, Associate, and Senior Associate Dean of the College, Ursinus College

1999-2017 — Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor of Biology with tenure, Ursinus

2007 — Fulbright Fellow, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile

1996-99 — Assistant, Associate, and Senior Research Scientist, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

1998 — Adjunct Professor of Biology, Engineering/Science Division, Rose State College

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Search Committee Members:

Steve Bailey, Professor of Physical Therapy Education Matt Buckmaster, Executive Director of the Elon Core Curriculum and Associate Professor of Music and Education Brooke Buffington, Director of the Student Professional Development Center Pablo Celis-Castillo, Associate Professor of Spanish Naeemah Clark, Professor of Cinema and Television Arts and J. Earl Danieley Distinguished Professor Brian Dudiak, Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services and chair of the Staff Advisory Council Ben Evans, T.E. Powell Jr. Professor and Professor of Physics Steve Friedland, Senior Scholar and Professor of Law at the Elon University School of Law Madison George, undergraduate student Curran Gilster, undergraduate student Nick Gozik, Dean of Global Education and Assistant Professor Jason Husser, co-chair, Associate Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies and chair of Academic Council Margarita Kaprielyan, Assistant Professor of Finance Teresa LePors, Coordinator of Library Research and Scholarly Services and Associate Librarian Jana Lynn Patterson, Associate Vice President for Student Life, Dean of Students and Assistant Professor Gabie Smith, Dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology Timberly Southerland, graduate student, Elon University School of Law Rob Springer, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness Lisa Thompson, Instructor of Education (part-time) Christopher Waters, Associate Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Janet Williams, co-chair, Vice President for Finance and Administration Marna Winter, Senior Lecturer in Education and Chair of the Department of Education and Wellness Greg Zaiser, Vice President for Enrollment