Provost Names Spears Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation

Julia SpearsProvost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann E. Cudd has announced the appointment of Julia Spears as associate vice provost for academic innovation. In this new role, Spears will focus on further developing and executing the Personalized Education Initiative in the Office of the Provost.

“The personalized education initiative is exciting and important. Julia brings a wealth of experience in developing and running student leadership, engagement and educational programs to this position, and I look forward to the good work ahead as we further advance our efforts,” said Cudd.

Spears has spent the past year developing a concept of personalized education for Pitt and working with faculty and advisors. She oversaw last year’s inaugural Mentoring and Advising Summit and is leading the planning for this year’s event in March. Spears is also overseeing the piloted launch of Pitt Commons, an innovative web-based platform where Pitt students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the University can make connections, mentor students, join groups based on common interests, post and answer discussion questions and browse resources.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue the work of the Personalized Education Initiative under Provost Cudd’s leadership. I believe we have the talent, creativity and culture that can further seed innovation throughout our campus as a way to enhance student success,” said Spears. “Throughout the last year, I have had the privilege of working with dedicated and forward-thinking staff, faculty, administrators and students, and I am looking forward to continuing to build those relationships to support our shared work in this space.”

Prior to coming to Pitt, Spears served as associate director of the Barger Leadership Institute at the University of Michigan for more than three years. At Northern Illinois University, she was the director of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning before being promoted to associate vice provost for engaged learning.

Spears has a PhD in educational administration and higher education from Southern Illinois University; a master of public administration from California State University, Long Beach; and a bachelor of arts in sociology and speech communication from the University of Washington.