The Provost and Dean of the Faculty supports Colgate’s core academic mission.
Colgate is distinguished by academic excellence, and the Provost and Dean of the Faculty supports the many functions that contribute to that distinction: curriculum, faculty personnel, instructional budgets, university libraries, off-campus studies, museums, institutional analysis, and equity and diversity.
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Meet Colgate’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Lesleigh Cushing, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Murray W. and Mildred K. Finard Professor in Jewish Studies and Professor of Religion
Cushing arrived at Colgate in 2002, after receiving a BA in English literature and religious studies from McGill University, a master of theological studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and her PhD in religion and literature from Boston University. In 2015, she was named Murray W. and Mildred K. Finard Associate Professor in Jewish studies and associate professor of religion. She was promoted to the rank of full professor at Colgate in 2018.
Her scholarly work is focused on the intersection of religion and literature—put Jewishly, literatorah—and she has written on a range of topics, including intertextuality in Genesis, images of the flood in contemporary fiction, the intersection of ritual and memory in Exodus, the book of Ruth in historical-critical and theological perspective, and midrash in Jewish American literature. She is the co-author of The Bible in the American Short Story (2018) and author of Sustaining Fictions: Midrash, Intertextuality, Translation and the Literary Afterlife of the Hebrew Bible (2008). She is the co-editor of both From the Margins: Women of the Hebrew Bible and their Afterlives (2009) and Scrolls of Love: Ruth and the Song of Songs (2006), and she has published numerous articles focusing on the intersection of religion and literature. Her current book project is on Jewish identity and textuality in contemporary Jewish cookbooks.
Her courses include Bible in American Politics, The Literary Afterlife of the Bible, Fasting and Feasting, Gender and Judaism, The Word in the World, and Core 151: Legacies of the Ancient World. In 2015, she was recognized with the Colgate Alumni Corporation Distinguished Teaching Award.
Immediately prior to becoming Provost/ Dean of the Faculty, Cushing served as senior advisor to the president for arts and innovation initiatives. In this role, she worked collaboratively with colleagues in art and art history, computer science, creative writing, entrepreneurship and innovation, film and media studies, museum studies and the University Museums, music, sociology and anthropology, theater and dance, the University Libraries, as well as with University technology specialists and countless others to realize a vision for the Middle Campus and a plan for its full implementation.
Between 2017 and 2021, Cushing served as Associate Dean of the Faculty, focused on faculty recruitment and development, a role in which she worked with many campus colleagues to develop several of the academic dimensions of the Third-Century Plan. In coordination with the Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity Maura Tumulty, she helped to develop new, more equitable hiring guidelines and processes; offered hiring workshops foregrounding best practices in DEI and implicit bias training; and assisted in the hiring of approximately 30 tenure-stream faculty members. During this time, she also led a team of 32 faculty and staff members in developing a vision for the Initiative in Arts, Creativity, and Innovation in Colgate’s Middle Campus.
Prior leadership roles at the University include directing the Jewish Studies program, being University Professor for CORE 151: Legacies of the Ancient World. In addition, she has served on numerous university committees, including being co-chair of the Strategic Planning Working
Group: Living the Liberal Arts.
The Center for Learning Teaching, and Research (CLTR) supports Colgate’s ongoing commitment to maintaining an exceptional educational environment. The center supports faculty in teaching, innovative pedagogy, and research.Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research