Duke University has named Abbas Benmamoun vice provost for faculty advancement, a new position responsible for recruiting and retaining excellent and diverse faculty, Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth announced Tuesday. He starts at Duke June 1.
Benmamoun is currently vice provost for faculty affairs and academic policies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he works closely with the schools and colleges on faculty hiring and retention, promotion and tenure, faculty advancement and leadership development.
“The search committee was highly impressed by Dr. Benmamoun’s experience, passion and innovative ideas for the advancement of faculty and the creation of a more diverse and inclusive environment. I was equally impressed and am excited to work with him to further enhance the environment for our faculty and students,” Kornbluth said.
The vice provost for faculty advancement at Duke provides intellectual leadership, guidance and oversight of university-wide strategies and programs to enhance faculty excellence. Because diversity and inclusion are considered essential aspects of faculty excellence, a core component of Benmamoun’s responsibilities will be to promote diversity and inclusion in the faculty, and to ensure that high standards and fair practices are employed in faculty recruitment, appointment, promotion and career advancement.
“Recruiting and retaining excellent and diverse faculty and providing them with the resources, support structure and environment to excel and do what they do best as educators and researchers is key to the success of a dynamic and world-renowned institution like Duke,” Benmamoun said. “Faculty are universities’ competitive edge and are instrumental to their educational, research, and engagement missions.”
Benmamoun added, “There were two major considerations that convinced me that this is a wonderful opportunity. The first is the excellence of the institution; Duke has visionary and dedicated leadership, world-class faculty and staff, and an excellent student body.
“Second, I share and support the vision of Provost Kornbluth to consider diversity an integral part of faculty advancement. An excellent and diverse faculty provide great opportunities to enrich the student experience and expand the research and engagement footprint of the institution. I am honored to be invited to be a partner in advancing that vision.”
At the University of Illinois, Benmamoun oversees programs, policies and initiatives that promote faculty diversity and advancement across campus, and works closely with the Academic Senate, the Big Ten Academic Alliance and others on matters pertaining to faculty affairs and leadership development.
He previously served in different leadership roles at the University of Illinois, including as acting director of the Center of Middle Eastern and Asian Studies, head of the Department of Linguistics, director of the School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics, and associate provost for faculty development. He has also had long associations with the university’s international studies and interdisciplinary programs.
A native of Morocco, Benmamoun earned his bachelor of arts degree from the Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, his master’s degree from University College London, and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He has served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
Benmamoun’s research focuses on the comparative syntax and morphology of natural language and on heritage languages, particularly on issues of language maintenance and loss within immigrant communities. His interdisciplinary research includes projects with colleagues in the humanities, social sciences and engineering.