Academic Affairs

Message from Provost Barbara Jean Morris

Welcome to Fort Lewis College.  I am delighted that you are visiting our website and hope you will spend time investigating our wide array of programs of study.  Fort Lewis College is committed to transformative education.  Essentially, we strive to capture our students' attention and imagination so that they can facilitate their own deep learning.  We do this by creating a participatory educational experience where faculty/student interaction is valued.  Our Liberal Arts Core prepares students to be critical thinkers and responsible citizens who will pursue meaningful careers and help create a more just, humane, and sustainable world.  We are not “Accidental Teachers.”  Our innovative teaching and pedagogy is designed in such a way that connects our curriculum to the world in meaningful ways.

You will find that the faculty at Fort Lewis College are deeply dedicated to their students.  They are active scholars, innovative teachers, and involved in day-to-day advising of students.

I challenge you to be transformed, to experience an education that seeks to provide the best of all worlds to students; for example, the ability to study abroad, the ability to do field-based research, the ability to engage in community service, the ability to engage in faculty-student research, and the ability to experience diversity through different interactions both in and outside of the classroom.

I believe this Chinese proverb sums up well the experience you will receive at Fort Lewis College:

Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.

-- Barbara Jean Morris, Ph.D.

Biography: Barbara Jean Morris, Ph.D.

Barbara Jean Morris is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fort Lewis College. Prior to coming to Fort Lewis College, she worked at the University of Redlands in southern California for 16 years. During her tenure at the University of Redlands, Provost Morris served as Chair of the Government department from 2001-2005, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2005-2006, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2006-2011. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science in 1996 from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

As Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Morris reports to the President and is the chief academic officer for the college. As the chief academic officer, the Provost supports the academic vision for the college, providing leadership for all aspects of its academic programs, including oversight of educational policy and programs of instruction, the development and assessment of academic programs, faculty development, and the integrity of the college's curriculum.

Provost Morris is deeply committed to providing resources to faculty and students for professional development, field trips, faculty/student research, innovative teaching and collaborative learning, guest speakers, and community service learning. Additionally, she fosters community partnerships, whether they are local or global, to provide opportunities for both students and faculty.

To foster a learning community, Provost Morris believes that good teaching grows out of continued scholarly endeavors. Thus, she tries to maintain an active professional life. Her research is multidisciplinary in both approach and subject matter. She has four main areas of research that have recently intersected in a very interesting project. Her research began with the study of interest groups in the American States. Her later projects concern women and politics, tribal governments, and the presidency. Her co-authored manuscript, Recreating the Circle is forthcoming at The University of New Mexico Press. This book is a collaboration centering on the relationship between tribal, state, federal, and local governments. In addition, her co-authored article “Faith and Sex: Presidents under Pressure: Electoral Coalitions and Strategic Presidents” looks at the Executive Office of the President and women’s and religious interest groups. Organizational theory, leadership practices, and strategies for cooperation all inform her research. In particular, her co-authored article “Feminist Organizational Structure in the White House: The Office of Women’s Initiatives and Outreach,” which investigates how organizational cultures impact leadership styles has helped her to recognize the importance of identifying organizational cultures in the practice of leadership. Provost Morris’ research provides a context for her personal administrative leadership. She believes that colleges and universities need to be learning communities based on shared governance and respect. This includes engaging students in decision making. She tends to see everything in terms of relationships and community. Indeed as stated earlier, her own research centers on both gendered institutions and leadership and re-instilling harmony back to Indian tribes. She believes the Native American symbol of the circle best illustrates her desire for a process of decision making that is based on mutual understanding, respect, communication and a shared commitment.

On a personal level, Provost Morris loves the outdoors and Durango is a virtual playground for the outdoor enthusiast. Don’t be surprised if you see her hiking up the paths to work or in the state-of-the-art Student Life Center doing a quick workout.