The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York has announced that Provost Chase F. Robinson will serve as interim president of the Graduate Center, effective July 1. Dr. Robinson will lead the GC while President William P. Kelly serves as interim chancellor of CUNY, following the retirement of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein.
Robinson was named provost and senior vice president of the Graduate Center in 2008. A historian of the premodern Middle East, Robinson is also distinguished professor of history. As provost, he initiated and led a comprehensive planning process that culminated in the GC’s Strategic Plan for 2012–2016, outlining the institution’s major goals: increasing selectivity in admissions; enhancing financial support to ensure excellence and promote diversity; and generating a culture of interdisciplinary and collaborative learning and research.
Working collaboratively with the Office of Institutional Advancement, Robinson has secured major funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation that has enhanced faculty support and built the institution’s digital capacity, placing the GC firmly at the forefront of the digital evolution within higher education. His achievements at the GC also include a significant expansion in the Master’s of Liberal Studies and the launching of major enterprises such as the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, the CUNY Institute for Language Education in Transcultural Context, and the Advanced Research Collaborative, which brings together CUNY and international scholars in collaborative and interdisciplinary research in the social sciences and humanities.
Robinson received an A.B. (Honors) from Brown University, having also studied at the American University in Cairo, the University of Cairo, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, where he was awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. In 1993 he joined the Faculty of Oriental Studies and Wolfson College, Oxford University, where he taught until 2008. From 1999 to 2000 he was a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and in 2005 he was awarded a two-year British Academy Research Readership. He is the author or editor of seven books and more than forty articles, and he has contributed commentaries to Inside Higher Education, the Times Literary Supplement, the Huffington Post, the (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, and BBC Radio 5 in the United Kingdom.