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University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sonya Stephens named IU Bloomington vice provost for undergraduate education

Jan. 8, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson announced today (Jan. 8) that Sonya Stephens has been appointed to the new position of vice provost for undergraduate education.

Stephens is professor and chair of the Department of French and Italian in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. Her appointment takes effect immediately.

"I am delighted that Professor Stephens has agreed to take up this important new position," Hanson said. "In addition to being a leading scholar of 19th-century French literature, Professor Stephens has wide and deep experience in policies and programs to promote undergraduate learning and student well-being. She has designed and implemented thoughtful processes to assure academic quality and to respond carefully and constructively to public interests in assessment and accountability.

"She understands very well the special opportunities and challenges of Indiana University Bloomington; and, having been a successful and imaginative administrator both here and in Europe, she brings both tested leadership skills and a fresh perspective to this crucial office."


Sonya Stephens

Print-Quality Photo

The position was created as part of a restructuring of campus administration that places the broad functions of the office of academic affairs and dean of the faculties under the leadership of two vice provosts.

Stephens will lead programs and initiatives in support of outstanding academic experiences for all IU Bloomington undergraduates. Her responsibilities will include leadership on undergraduate curricular policies and encouragement and support for innovation in the curriculum. She will chair the Campus Curriculum Committee, implement and manage the General Education Initiative and work collaboratively with school deans on initiatives to enhance undergraduate education, including opportunities for students to work with faculty on research and participate in community-based learning and leadership activities.

To learn more about the office of the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education, go to

"The new role of vice provost for undergraduate education is a tremendous opportunity to work with and for students and faculty across the campus in order to shape and deliver a 21st-century undergraduate education and experience, one that holds eternal intellectual values in high esteem and rises to the challenge of the future skills and needs of the community and the state, the nation and the world," Stephens said. "Building upon the university's already substantial achievements, this new office will facilitate faculty engagement with the campus' mission to provide access to such an education for learners of diverse backgrounds and in all disciplines."

Stephens is an expert on 19th-century French literature and culture, with a particular interest in the inter-relationship of different cultural forms, especially literature and the visual arts. She is the author of Baudelaire's Prose Poems: The Practice and Politics of Irony (Oxford University Press, 1999) and editor of Esquisses/Ébauches: Projects and Pre-Texts in Nineteenth-Century French Culture (Peter Lang, 2007) and A History of Women's Writing in France (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

She came to IU Bloomington as professor of French in 2006 after serving as a faculty member for 15 years at the University of London. She holds a Ph.D. and B.A. from the University of Cambridge and an M.A. from the Université de Montréal.

Stephens was selected for the vice provost for undergraduate education position after a search that began in October 2008. Bennett Bertenthal, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, chaired the search committee.