Provost Faculty Fellows

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Lehigh University Provost Faculty Fellows Program

The Provost Faculty Fellows Program provides an opportunity for faculty who desire to foster institutional changes at Lehigh through work on a specific project while gaining experience in higher education leadership. As an important additional conduit for faculty insight and engagement, the Fellows make meaningful contributions to the campus through original initiatives, undertaking planned projects, or assisting with existing campus-wide academic initiatives. Projects fall into one or more of the following categories: faculty affairs, international affairs, undergraduate education, graduate education, or research, scholarship, and creative activities. The shape of projects and scope of work vary with the experience, skills, and aspirations of individual faculty fellows. The duration of the appointment is based on the scope of the proposed project. Typically, Fellows are appointed for one academic year, but shorter-term project proposals (summer or one-term) or longer-term project proposals are considered. 

Fellows work with a mentor and participate in a set of leadership development activities related to academic administration and the operations of the Office of the Provost. In addition, the Provost supports external leadership or development opportunities tailored to the interests of the individual faculty fellow (e.g. HERS Leadership InstituteACE FellowsThe Chronicle’s Strategic Leadership ProgramNCFDD workshops).

If you have any questions regarding this program, please feel free to contact Larry Snyder (, Deputy Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Nancy Carlisle

Nancy Carlisle is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science. Dr Carlisle's research focuses on attentional processing and the memory systems that support attention. Her work utilizes a combination of behavior, eye tracking, and EEG in human participants. The goal of Dr Carlisle's research is to better understand how we are able to direct our attention towards our goals and avoid distraction. Dr Carlisle also engages in interdisciplinary neuroscience research with her collaborator Dr Yu Zhang in Lehigh’s Department of Bioengineering. Dr Carlisle's research has been funded by NIH. She serves on the editorial board of four of the major journals in her area. Dr Carlisle has worked on Lehigh's Council for Equity and Community (CEC) and the faculty Senate. She loves sharing her passion for science, psychology and neuroscience with undergraduates at Lehigh. Dr Carlisle obtained undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Zoology with high honors from Michigan State University, before obtaining her PhD in Psychology from Vanderbilt University. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at University of California Davis and served as a faculty member at University of Leicester in the UK before coming to Lehigh in 2016.

Project Description

Lehigh University has served as an institution of higher learning for over 150 years, but the Faculty Senate was added only 6 years ago.  The current policy structure was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2005, well before the faculty senate structure was established.  As a Provost Faculty Fellow, Dr. Carlisle will focus on the process of faculty consultation, seeking to incorporate the faculty senate, department chairs, and other faculty into the typical procedures of faculty consultation with the aim of enhancing good communication and mutual understanding.  The goal will be to create a simple and efficient mechanism of faculty consultation to enhance shared governance and foster a greater sense of community.


Nandini Deo

Nandini Deo is launching a set of projects that re-examine childhood based on speculations about the future. In terms of research, these projects explore self-directed education as a form of political utopia while also practically creating spaces that support this type of learning. Her most recent book project, on the corporatization of civil society in India, is forthcoming in Fall 2024. Before this her research focused on religious nationalism and gender politics where she was interested in comparing activists motivated by very different stories as they tried to achieve their goals by creating coalitions or strategically using education to create supporters. Her interest in civil society has led to international collaborations that shape foreign aid policies. She recently returned from a year in India as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar at SNDT University in Mumbai, India where she conducted research and offered pedagogy workshops. Deo was the 2022 recipient of Lehigh’s Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. She has adopted a teaching style that engages in curricular co-creation with students to the maximum extent possible.

Project Description

Nandini Deo’s goal as a Provost Faculty Fellow is to address the over-scheduling and competitive pressures felt by Lehigh students and to provide them with opportunities to reflect and connect their activities to their life’s purpose. While students are being exposed to a wide variety of new ideas and skills, they rarely make connections between their values and their various classes and extra-curricular activities. To integrate all of these requires time. Time to think, to dig deeper, to be intentional about what they are doing.  Unfortunately, the simplest approach, that of limiting how many credits a student can take, is unlikely to suffice as they will likely fill that time up with out-of-class activities. One option is to create a one or two credit course that students take each semester, or each year, in which they are paired with a faculty mentor (could be their academic advisor but not necessarily) in which they ask these big questions. The class could be a graduation requirement, graded pass/fail, where the only requirement is regular attendance. Faculty could be provided a set of big questions to probe with their students and encouraged to engage in freewheeling questioning and discussing. Some of the best advisors do this already, but most of us do not have the time to have these conversations with our advisees. By making this a class, faculty would be able to make the time to offer this kind of mentoring. This mentoring could become a hallmark of a Lehigh education. Small groups of students meeting regularly with faculty to discuss purpose and meaning and how their academic and extra-curricular pursuits come together. It would allow students to reflect on their ethical commitments, be intentional about their careers, and feel supported by the institution in ways that would shape them for life.

Michael S. Lehman, MD, MBA

Michael S. Lehman brings a unique blend of interdisciplinary experience and innovation leadership to higher education - a medical doctor traveling overseas for an international MBA, working in a new product development team at a global healthcare company, ultimately launching and evolving three prominent entrepreneurship programs across three different types of institutions (a small private liberal arts college, a public state-related research university, and a private research university). The common thread through his work has been curriculum development - integrating foundational content and cutting-edge innovation from across disciplines to create educational programs that are both academically rigorous and practically relevant. At Lehigh University, Dr. Lehman serves as Faculty Director of Technical Entrepreneurship, which educates students from across disciplines on both technical product development and entrepreneurial venture creation; TE was recognized with an Award of Excellence in Talent Development by the University Economic Development Association. At Lehigh he holds an appointment as Professor of Practice in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, is Senior Personnel on the NSF Cooperative Agreement 'ART: Building an Inclusive, Accessible, and Sustainable Ecosystem to Accelerate Research Translation,’ and is a member of the Doctoral Education Working Group. Dr. Lehman earned a Bachelor of Science from Juniata College, a Doctor of Medicine from the Penn State College of Medicine, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. He has served as President of the Juniata College Alumni Association.

Project Description

Microcredentials in higher education have been defined as “a subset of learning achievements or outcomes that is less than a full degree or certificate” (1). While universities have started to integrate this type of learning, lack of institution-specific policies and roadmaps may leave some  departments and colleges to underutilize this emerging pedagogical approach.(2) This leads to an untapped opportunity at Lehigh, whereby microcredentials have the potential to be leveraged in a number of ways to have greater impact on graduate-level education: microcredentials as a sampling / entre to a future graduate certificate or master’s degree (the concept of ‘stackable’ courses), microcredentials as interdisciplinary enhancement for doctoral students in consultation with their faculty advisory, and microcredentials as an offering for lifelong learning for Lehigh alumni. Through this Provost Faculty Fellowship, stakeholders across the university will be engaged to share thoughts, insights, experiences, concerns, and ideas…all towards the development of a university-wide policy and roadmap for creating and operationalizing microcredentials. The potential to impact learning pathways across the five colleges and differentiate Lehigh as an educational leader, while simultaneously supporting the strategic plan key initiatives to ‘redefine a deeply interdisciplinary education’ and ‘cultivate a Lifelong Lehigh’ is exciting. Sources: (1) Alternative Credential Work Group Report (2022) (2) Report: Microcredentials Not a Strategic Priority for Many Colleges (2024)

Nicholas Sawicki

Nick Sawicki is an art historian whose scholarship focuses on modern European art of the early 20th century, with a specific regional focus on central and eastern Europe. He has particular expertise as a scholar of modernism in Prague, and of the history of exhibitions, collecting, and transnational artistic exchange. He has published and presented his work in a range of journals, publications, and venues both nationally and internationally, and his fourth book will be out this summer: the co-edited volume Through the Eyes of Franz Kafka: Between Image and Language (Prague: Kant, 2024). Prof. Sawicki has been the recipient of fellowships and grants from the Getty Research Institute, Leo Baeck Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Social Sciences Research Council, as well as a Fulbright Scholarship. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and BA from New York University. He previously served on the Smart Growth working group of Lehigh’s strategic planning process, and is currently concluding his term as the university’s chair of chairs.

Project Description

Taking as a premise that any successful transformation of the university’s Mountaintop Campus must begin from and orient itself around innate research and teaching strengths already present within the university community, Prof. Sawicki’s Provost Faculty Fellow project will pursue conversations with fellow faculty members about what parts of our existing scholarly and pedagogical work could benefit most from selective use of the Mountaintop. What things are our departments, centers, institutes, and labs at Lehigh already doing well in research and teaching that could be propelled further, expanded, and more appropriately supported through the unique affordances of Mountaintop’s natural and built environment, with its large and open spaces? What do these things have in common, what are their intellectual adjacencies, and how do they connect to academic and research programs already sited on Mountaintop? How would their use of the Mountaintop campus advance interdisciplinarity, research productivity, and student outcomes in these areas? Through shared discussion with department chairs, program directors, and faculty, Prof. Sawicki’s aim is to gather the data that will help answer these critical questions—in short, a map of the intellectual synergies that Lehigh will need to leverage and support if it is to transform this part of the university campus into a truly thriving and resilient intellectual and social community, integral to the university at large and adding to our national reputation and standing as an institution.

2023-2024 Provost Faculty Fellows

Anna Chupa

Anna Chupa is a photographer and textile artist whose photos, textile designs, quilts, and mixed-media installations have been exhibited in Austria, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Morocco, the Netherlands, Spain, and throughout the United States. Her altar installation and aluminum-mounted photographs of New Orleans’s Voodoo Spiritual Temple were in a solo exhibition at the Banana Factory Arts Center in Bethlehem, and part of a two-person exhibition at Albright College’s Freedman Gallery.  She has a solo exhibition forthcoming in April at the Virginia Quilt Museum featuring her architectural quilts. Quilts in her series “Pieces Petals Leaves and Eaves” combine motifs from traditional Islamic tiling patterns with montages of photographs of flowers and vernacular architecture from Pennsylvania’s urban neighborhoods. Prof. Chupa’s most recent projects are textile designs that combine biomorphic forms with renderings of cellular automata, and art quilts documenting the landscape and architecture of the Camino de Santiago. Prof. Chupa earned her MFA in photography at the University of Delaware, and an MA in Liberal Studies from Dartmouth College. She previously taught in the Electronic Visualisation MFA program at Mississippi State University and at Delaware State University.

Michael Layden

Michael Layden is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Michael’s research career began as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester. While earning a B.S. in Cell and Developmental Biology, he had the opportunity to join a lab at the UR Medical campus. That experience investigating glycosyltransferase enzymes in C. elegans led him to pursue a career in research. He went on to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon for his work in Chris Doe’s lab investigating the mechanisms of motor axon exit from the Drosophila central nervous system. During his postdoctoral work with Mark Martindale at the University of Hawaii and University of Florida, he developed the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis as an animal model system to inform our understanding about the evolutionary origins of complex nervous systems, and to investigate how nervous systems regenerate. As an Assistant and Associate Professor at Lehigh Michael has continued to advance Nematostella as a model system and expanded his research interests into using Nematostella as a model system to understand coral reproductive biology. His work has been funded by the NIH and NSF and he was the recipient of an NSF CAREER award. Under the CAREER award Michael developed a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience for Lehigh students. Michael has served on multiple committees at the departmental and university level. Outside of Lehigh he is an active member of multiple societies including serving as a member of the Public Affairs Committee for the Society of Developmental Biology.

Anand Ramamurthi

Anand Ramamurthi is Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science at Lehigh University. He is an expert in platform technologies for in situ elastic tissue repair and in vitro tissue engineering. He came to Lehigh University in 2020 from the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, where he was a professor of biomedical engineering. He was also a professor of Molecular Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. His research, funded by the NIH, NSF, American Heart Association and other private foundations spans biomaterials, nanomedicine, and stem cell-based strategies for growing elastic tissue constructs on demand or enabling biomimetic tissue repair in vivo. His lab is also involved in identifying novel mechanistic targets for multipronged downstream regenerative benefits to treatment of structurally degenerative disorders of the vasculature, lungs, and pelvic organs. Other innovative recent projects include the investigation of surrogate in vivo bioreactor systems (e.g., peritoneal cavity) to study in situ vascular tissue remodeling responses to biomaterial scaffolds. He also serves on the committees of several international professional societies in the cardiovascular sciences, biomaterials, and tissue engineering fields, including the AHA Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology In recent years, he has served on the external advisory committee of the NIH-funded South Carolina Bioengineering Center for Regeneration and Formation of Tissues to provide advisement on center initiatives, junior faculty mentoring, and research core development. He is a reviewer for more than 50 scientific peer-reviewed journals and a member of the editorial boards of several journals in the fields of biomaterials, nanomedicine, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. He served as chair of the AHA Cardiac Basic Sciences Innovative Research Grant Study Section and several other review panels for the NIH, NSF, and other grant funding agencies. Prior to being at Lehigh University has been a lead member of several international research and educational partnerships, including with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Technology and Engineering (UTEC) in Lima, Peru.

Jennifer Swann

Jennifer Swann has been a professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA for over 25 years. Her career began with research in circadian rhythms where she worked to identify multiple circadian and food entertainable oscillators. Her research interests then moved to neuroendocrinology and behavior, demonstrating that sex steroid induced neural plasticity in limbic areas occurs in the male but not the female.  Dr. Swann worked with Lehigh’s faculty senate to create a faculty code of ethics and more equitable positions for non-tenured faculty and actively promotes equity and inclusion at a variety of external advisory boards, she is committed to creating healthy, collegial climates where faculty, staff, and students can thrive. As one of Lehigh’s Ombuds she creates and delivers workshops on conflict mangement and leadership development.  Professor Swann is an active member of the advisory board for the Academic Parity Movement, a non-profit organization currently working to define bullying among the faculty in Higher Education; the co-chair of the DEIB committee of the International Association of Ombud, chair of the human resources committee of Pennfutures, and president of the board of the  Coalition for Appropriate Transportation.