Professor of Biology Drew Kerkhoff has been named associate provost, effective July 1, 2020.
Over the course of his 15-year career at Kenyon, Kerkhoff has served as chair of the biology department and of the Faculty Lectureships and Faculty Affairs committees, and as director of student research. In 2015, his colleagues recognized his work with the Distinguished Faculty Service Award.
Kerkhoff succeeds Professor of History Jeff Bowman, who has served as associate provost since 2017 and will become provost on July 1. Bowman takes the reins of the provost’s office from Professor of Political Science Joseph L. Klesner, who has led it since 2013.
“I’m thrilled that Drew will be joining the team in Bailey House,” Bowman said. “An excellent teacher and scholar, Drew has also been an exemplary leader in faculty governance. I’m sure he’ll bring to this new role all of the qualities that have distinguished his work at Kenyon so far, including acute judgment, a steady temper, a lively imagination and a resolute commitment to the promise of liberal education.”
Kerkhoff’s duties as associate provost will include overseeing academic policies and serving as liaison to faculty departments, programs and governance committees. He also will assist with faculty recruitment and the faculty evaluation process. As associate provost, Kerhoff will serve as a member of Senior Staff to advise President Sean Decatur.
“I am excited to join the administrative team in Bailey House, whose dedication to the faculty, students and staff at Kenyon has been inspiring,” Kerkhoff said. “I am especially honored and humbled to be entrusted with this opportunity now, as we begin to recover from the current COVID-19 crisis and navigate the changing landscape of higher education in the coming years. Kenyon is a remarkable community, and this semester has shown us that it is also a resilient one. I look forward to working with President Decatur, Provost Bowman, and the rest of my new colleagues to help develop and expand on our strengths as we move forward.”
Kerkhoff received his bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers University, then earned a master’s degree and doctorate in biology from the University of New Mexico. After completing a postdoctoral position at the University of Arizona, he joined the Kenyon faculty in 2005 and was promoted to full professor in 2017. He regularly teaches in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in addition to the biology department.
Kerkhoff is a quantitative ecologist whose research is motivated by two key environmental challenges: global climate and land-use change, and biodiversity conservation. He has published 40 peer-reviewed articles or book chapters, several with Kenyon students as co-authors, and is also an associate editor for two leading journals in ecology and evolution, “The American Naturalist” and “Global Ecology and Biogeography.” Kerkhoff leads the Kenyon Macroecology Lab, where students use computational and field-based approaches to analyze the distribution and evolution of plant biodiversity and the functional role of Earth’s vegetation in the global carbon cycle.
Along with his research, Kerkhoff also works to improve the quantitative, computational and data-intensive components of the biology curriculum; to increase public understanding of evolution, biodiversity and global change; and to better integrate writing instruction into science education, leading writing workshops for scientists of all ages, from high school students to professional researchers and clinicians.