New leadership across campus

The end of the academic year brought several administrative changes at Fairfield.

Following an extensive national search in May, the University announced the appointment of Dr. Lynn Babington as senior vice president for Academic Affairs. Dr. Babington had served as dean of the School of Nursing since 2012 and also held an appointment as professor of nursing. She has extensive experience in academic, hospital, and clinical settings.

“The selection of a chief academic officer is always important in the life of a university,” said University President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., “but at this particular time in higher education and Fairfield’s history as well, the selection has even greater significance… Dr. Babington received the Search Committee’s unanimous and enthusiastic endorsement.”

Dr. Babington replaces the Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., who was selected as the 28th president of the University of San Francisco in April.

Dr. Yohuru Williams, professor of history, has been named associate vice president for Academic Affairs, a position last held by Dr. David Sapp, who served the role for two years, and is now a professor in Loyola Marymount’s School of Education.

Dr. Williams will lead campus initiatives on first-year student retention, academic support services, student-faculty research collaborations, and other projects central to mission and the strategic plan. He begins his term in September.

A sought-after speaker and writer, Dr. Williams has served as chair of the History Department and director of Black Studies. He received an MLK Vision Award at Fairfield in 2014 and will be the featured speaker at this fall’s Convocation.

“Dr. Williams is honored to have the opportunity to serve Fairfield University in this new role,” said Dr. Babington. “He has a passion for Jesuit education and will contribute greatly to the University’s most important initiatives and priorities going forward.”

Dr. James Simon, professor of English and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), was named dean of the College and began a one-year term on June 1. He replaces Dr. Robbin Crabtree, who accepted a new position with Loyola Marymount University in California.

“Dr. Simon demonstrates proactive leadership, strong organizational skills, and the ability to resolve difficult challenges through collaboration and alliance building,” said Dr. Babington. “He will bring these characteristics to his new role as dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.”

Dr. Meredith Wallace Kazer, APRN, FAAN, an esteemed professor of nursing and associate dean of the School of Nursing, was appointed in June to a two-year term as dean, replacing Dr. Babington.

Dr. Kazer is an award-winning researcher and adult and gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. She has also served as the graduate program director. In these roles, Dr. Kazer led the University through successful accreditations of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.Dr. Babington said, “She worked to increase graduate enrollments and has been awarded over a million dollars in grant funding. Her career-spanning focus on improving the quality of life of older adults has resulted in numerous patient-centered interventions.”