The following message was sent to Middlebury students, faculty, and staff on May 16.

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

We are pleased to share the news that Jeremy Ward, the Albert D. Mead Professor of Biology, has been named the next Vice President for Academic Affairs for Middlebury, effective July 1. We were fortunate to have a strong pool of qualified candidates for this position. 

An accomplished scholar, teacher, and administrator, Jeremy has a deep understanding of Middlebury’s mission and opportunities, and brings a wealth of experience in academic leadership roles. We have been continually impressed with Jeremy’s ability to forge meaningful connections across Middlebury, earning the widespread trust of his colleagues. He is an excellent listener who takes in all points of view when making challenging decisions. He brings interest and experience in systems improvement, and a commitment to transformative teaching and scholarship.

Jeremy joined the Biology Department in 2003, and during his 20 years at Middlebury has served in a variety of roles, including as chair of the department and director of the Program in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. He was elected to the Faculty Council and the Educational Affairs Committee, for which he served as co-chair. In 2009, students recognized his impact in the classroom with the Perkins Award for Excellence in Teaching. His leadership in STEM pedagogy at Middlebury has been exemplary. In addition, his advice on the Health Education Task Force during the COVID-19 pandemic was invaluable. 

Jeremy earned his BA in cell biology and genetics and his PhD in cancer genetics from Cornell University, while also studying languages, international relations, and religion. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in mammalian genetics at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine.

One of Jeremy’s most impressive contributions to our community has been his work as a mentor to many students in his Bi Hall lab. His research interests include molecular genetics in animals, particularly mammals, ticks, and coral; inclusive, evidence-based STEM education, with a focus on introductory biology classes; and the intersection of biotechnology and society from an ethical perspective. He has collaborated on research with numerous Middlebury colleagues, and his work has been published widely in academic journals, including Nature Genetics, PLoS Genetics, Genetics, and Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Jeremy’s depth of experience will serve us well in this new position, which is being separated from the Dean of the Faculty role in order to increase support for faculty in all elements of their work. He recently shared his enthusiasm for this new direction in his career, saying, “After 20 years on the faculty, I am honored and excited to contribute to faculty, staff, and student success at Middlebury as a member of the College administration, and look forward to supporting our academic programs.”

As we move forward with this transition, I would like to thank Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Jim Ralph for his excellent leadership during this period. Jim will continue as Dean of the Faculty through the 2023–24 academic year. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Faculty Council for their thoughtful input; this was a new collaborative process that was helpful and rewarding for all.

Please join us in congratulating Jeremy on this new and important role.


Laurie L. Patton


Michelle McCauley

Interim Provost