Knapp Appointed Johns Hopkins Provost
Knapp has served as interim provost since January. His appointment to serve on a permanent basis as Hopkins' 11th provost, the chief academic officer of the university, was approved by the board of trustees Monday, Oct. 14, on the recommendation of President William R. Brody.
"Steve has demonstrated outstanding qualities of leadership, which the trustees and I believe have earned him the opportunity to continue permanently in the position," Brody said. "I have been especially impressed by his deep understanding of academic values and his penetrating vision of where Johns Hopkins must go to remain a model of excellence in the future.
"His skills and background are complementary to my own, and I know we will be an excellent team."
Brody said that, in addition to the provost's traditional on-campus role coordinating the work of the eight Hopkins schools and fostering collaboration among them, Knapp will give special priority to the university's role in the community.
"Dr. Brody and I agree that I will pay attention to the relationship between the university and the wider Baltimore community, and even the wider national community, especially as it involves the research and academic programs of the university," Knapp said.
The university's faculty and researchers are involved in scores of educational, health and other projects that reach out to the community. Among the best known are the Success for All reading program in public schools in Baltimore and nationwide, and the East Baltimore preventive health program "Heart, Body and Soul."
"Given the relationship between academic research and economic development and the need for collaboration among faculty from various institutions, maintaining academic quality increasingly means reaching out beyond the boundaries of the university itself," Knapp said.
Knapp said he will also follow up on work begun by his predecessor as provost, Hopkins political scientist Joseph Cooper, to promote international collaboration for the university's faculty and international experiences for its students. He said he intends to continue building the university's program for licensing its discoveries and inventions to private business, thereby multiplying the societal impact of the work of Hopkins researchers.
He said that information technology -- both building the university's information infrastructure and incorporating new technology into classroom teaching -- is a high priority.
"I will certainly continue to be strongly involved in efforts to strengthen our programs for students across the university," Knapp said. "I know Dr. Brody is strongly in favor of improving student facilities, and we will continue to move forward on projects like the student arts center at the Homewood campus. That's a real opportunity for increased collaboration between Homewood and the Peabody Conservatory." Knapp will continue as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences until a national search, which he will lead, results in the appointment of a successor. He will also remain actively involved in the school's campaign to raise at least $140 million as part of the university's $900 million Johns Hopkins Initiative. The School of Arts and Sciences has so far received gifts or commitments of $113 million.
"It has been a joy and an honor to lead the School of Arts and Sciences," Knapp said, "and I hope my relationship with the faculty there and across the university will continue to grow in this new role."
Knapp was appointed dean of the School of Arts and Sciences in 1994, after 16 years on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. A member there of one of the nation's leading departments of English, he is a specialist in 18th and 19th century English literature and in literary theory.
A 1973 graduate of Yale University, he earned his doctorate from Cornell University in 1981 after earning a master's degree there in 1977.
Knapp and his wife, Diane, have a son, Jesse, 13, and a daughter, Sarah, 10.
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