Vice President for Public Affairs
Erik Smulson (COL ’89) will take over as the vice president for public affairs and senior adviser to the president this month, taking over the job after Julie Bataille left this spring to work for the Obama administration.
Smulson, who served as the chief of staff to President John J. DeGioia since 2007 and assistant vice president of communications from 2005 to 2007, will direct the external relations, federal relations and protocol and events for the Georgetown office of communications.
“I am deeply grateful to Erik for his dedicated and very effective service as chief of staff over the past four years,” DeGioia said in a press release. “Erik has helped coordinate a wide range of issues during this time.”
Smulson said he was excited to tackle the challenges the new appointment would bring after his experience working for DeGioia.
“My work in the President’s office these past years has really allowed me to
have an understanding of the big picture and how the university works,” he said.
“On any day, the issues are different and they are always interesting and important. This experience has challenged me and prepared me for my new role.”
Smulson said that while he never saw himself taking on such a role in his days as an undergrad, he was excited to serve the community in this position.
“Georgetown has been such an important part of my life, it is truly an honor to continue to be part of the community in this way,” he said. “When I was a student
I never imagined I would be back serving the university in this way.”
Chief of Staff
Joe Ferrara was appointed chief of staff to University President John J. DeGioia on July 1, following Smulson’s appointment as vice president for public affairs.
“I am truly grateful to both Erik and Joe for their service to the university and I look forward to their continued contributions in these new roles,” DeGioia said in a press release.
Ferrara is currently associate dean of the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, having served in that capacity since 2008. Previously he headed the institute’s master of policy management program from 2002 to 2008.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” Ferrara said in an email. “I have really enjoyed my time at GPPI, where there is a wonderful community of faculty, staff, students and alumni.”
Nonetheless, Ferrara said he was excited to take on a different kind of role.
“The biggest change is that I will be working on university-wide initiatives, as opposed to being focused mostly on just one academic unit,” he said. “I’ve already had some opportunities to work on cross-cutting initiatives at Georgetown and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues in this important work.”
Ferrara will manage the Office of the President in his new position, as well as move forward on projects and events that encompass the university as a whole.
“I am looking forward to helping President DeGioia as he continues to lead Georgetown, said Ferrara. “I think the president has a very compelling strategic vision for the university and I am excited about doing everything I can to help him realize that vision.”
Director of Protestant Chaplaincy
Reverend Bryant Oskvig, an ordained elder in the Methodist Church, will serve as the director of Georgetown’s Protestant chaplaincy in the fall.
Oskvig, who served as part-time interim director for the ministry during the past school year and has been working with the ministry for more than five years, will join the university full-time after he finishes his term at the Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church in Maryland. Although he said it was a heart-wrenching decision to leave his current parish, Oskvig said he was excited to spend more time at Georgetown.
“My affection and love for Georgetown have grown over the years,” he said. “I’m already familiar with the community; I’ve already started building those relationships.”
As director of the Protestant chaplaincy, Oskvig will be responsible for leading Protestant worship services and Bible studies, organizing programs, coordinating with nearby Protestant churches and working with student groups.
“I hope that students feel welcome to come knock on my door,” he said.
He added that one of his goals is to develop a program that would create an opportunity for student reflection on their experiences.
Oskvig, who was chosen for the position after a year-long, nation-wide search by the Office of Mission and Ministry, said his diversity of experience has prepared him well for his job. He has served as a minister in a variety of settings and has worked on both interfaith and interethnic dialogues.
Oskvig will also oversee programs stemming from a wide range of beliefs and religious traditions.
“The challenge is sort of how to hold these diverse groups together,” he said. “Instead of a cacophony of noise, a symphony playing a melody.”
Director of the Doctor of Liberal Studies
The School of Continuing Studies announced the appointment of Francis J. Ambrosio as director of the doctor of liberal studies program on Monday.
“Frank will be both a model and a guide to our doctoral candidates in a program that has now established itself not only as the unique but also as the exemplary doctoral program for liberal studies in the academic world,” SCS Dean Robert Manuel said in a press release.
Ambrosio served as the interim director of the program, which focuses on a broad sampling of the humanities, during the 2010-2011 academic year. He helped institute the liberal studies doctoral program, the first of its kind in the United States and Canada, six years ago. He has been involved with the executive committee that manages doctoral studies as well as the program’s admission committee and is proud of its successful development.
“It’s unique in that it is a doctorate degree that is designed to be a fully interdisciplinary degree. That’s what makes liberal studies distinctive,” he said. “Because it is the first program of this sort, we are very eager and committed to make sure that the people who complete this degree approach the program with academic seriousness and the appropriate level of rigor.”
As director, he hopes to further attract and stimulate candidates who want to pursue leadership and public service.
Ambrosio was chosen for the position based on his experience with the doctoral program, and his interdisciplinary research and teaching credentials according to Manuel.
As interim director, Ambrosio transformed the position from a part-time to a full-time occupation. Despite the additional commitment, he will continue to be an associate professor of philosophy and teach “The Challenge of Post-Modernism,” a required course for the doctor of liberal studies program.
Ambrosio is a highly acclaimed professor on campus as a recipient of the Dorothy Brown Award for Teaching by popular student vote in 2009 and the Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award from the Georgetown graduate liberal studies program in 2010.