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Fairleigh Dickinson University appoints Benjamin Rifkin as University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Following a comprehensive search process, Fairleigh Dickinson University has announced the immediate appointment of Benjamin Rifkin as the University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Rifkin, who had been serving as interim provost since May, was selected after careful consideration and evaluation of several highly qualified candidates brought forward by the search committee, which was led by School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Dean Anastasia Rivkin.

“Ben has fully embraced our core value of putting students first, and he has excelled in many varied pursuits during his time as interim provost,” said FDU President Michael Avaltroni. “We know he will provide strong leadership of our academic programs, develop new initiatives that well serve students and faculty, and help FDU navigate the challenges in higher education and seize the opportunities to reach a new level of excellence.”

Among Rifkin’s top accomplishments during his role as interim provost was convening a task force with faculty, staff and students that conducted a long overdue evaluation of the existing structure of shared governance and developed a charter for a proposed new structure that the community is now reviewing. He also has also taken a leadership role in the critical Middle States accreditation process as he chairs the Self-Study Steering Committee.

Reflecting on his journey at FDU, Rifkin shared, “I fell in love with the FDU community when I first came to the New Jersey campuses as a candidate for the role of dean of the Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences, and that love has only grown over the last 18 months.”

Rifkin joined FDU in 2022 as the dean of Becton College, where he led initiatives to develop new interdisciplinary programs and incorporate project-based learning with students at partner institutions worldwide.

“I promise that I will continue to do all I can to support our faculty, staff and students in the learning, teaching and research missions that are central to FDU and to work closely with President Avaltroni and all the members of his cabinet to ensure that these missions are symbiotically supportive of and supported by the other divisions of the University,” Rifkin said.

Before joining FDU, he was professor of Russian and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Hofstra University. Previously, he was provost at Ithaca College and, prior to that, the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at The College of New Jersey.

A native of Bergen County he has produced an impressive record of scholarship in Russian studies and language pedagogy, and he is in great demand as a speaker on events in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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