Division of Academic Affairs

Rodney HanleyDr. Rod Hanley has served as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fisk since 2014.  In that role, Dr. Hanley serves as the chief academic and administrative officer in charge of all aspects of academic and student life.  He has had daily experiences in leading the academic mission, financial and research planning, unit reviews, faculty relations, accreditation processes, and student relations for the institution.  Prior to coming to Fisk, Hanley was Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada; Dean of Science at the University of Winnipeg; and a faculty member and chair of the Department of Earth System Science and Policy at the University of North Dakota.

Dr. Hanley's career in academia spans more than 29 years, including experience as a professor, department chair, dean, and provost.  He earned degrees from the University of Kansas (Ph.D., Biology), the University of Cambridge (M.St., Sustainability Leadership), and Eastern Illinois University (M.S. and B.S., Environmental Biology).  Dr. Hanley’s teaching experience includes courses both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including entomology, environmental science, biology, environmental communication, and biogeography.  Dr. Hanley has more than 90 peer-reviewed publications and professional presentations, and he has obtained more than $100 million in research grants, fundraising awards and donations.  Dr. Hanley also has significant experience in strategic and academic planning, budget development, fundraising, union and government relations.

Dr. Hanley has extensive research and administrative experience in a wide variety of areas, especially sustainability, social justice, and diversity within higher education.  Some of Dr. Hanley’s projects include the operation of a NASA research jet that flew around the globe collecting measurements associated with ozone depletion, climate change, and extreme weather patterns; the engineering and installation of a custom built camera onto the International Space Station that provides near-to-real-time images to growers to aid in precision farming practices; the planning and development of the massive Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex for the University of Winnipeg; and the development of first new law school in Ontario in over 43 years at Lakehead University.

Dr. Hanley has also made outreach to traditionally underrepresented students and minorities and their success in higher education a top priority in his work.  To this end, he has led many successful initiatives, including the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program.  Through this program, Fisk University is now the United States’ largest producer of African-American students with master’s degrees in physics, and Vanderbilt is the largest producer of minority scholars receiving doctorates in astronomy, physics and materials science.  This program is a national model for mentoring women and underrepresented minority graduate students and is being emulated by Columbia University, the University of Michigan, MIT, and the American Physical Society.  Dr. Hanley also led a successful initiative that transformed how the Lakehead University reached out to traditionally underrepresented minorities and made increasing their numbers a primary goal.  For example, the number of self-described Aboriginal or indigenous students enrolled jumped from 9% to 14% of the student body during my time there, which currently leads universities in Canada.

Dr. Hanley is from Decatur, Illinois and is a military veteran having served in the Persian Gulf War as part of the U.S. Army and the Illinois Army National Guard.  He is married to his spouse, Sara from Moorhead, Minnesota, and they have two sons through adoption: Harry, 8, who was born in Ethiopia, and Edward, 4, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Division is comprised of the following offices:

Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditations, Dr. Jason Curry
Assistant Vice Provost for Online Initiatives & Director of Distance Learning, Dr. Shirley Brown
Center for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Princilla Evans Morris, Executive Director
Registrar, Ms. Fantina Carter
Academic Org Chart


The Division is comprised of the following offices:


Dr. Rodney S. Hanley
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Dr. Arnold Burger
Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives

Alice Thurmond
Executive Assistant to the Provost


1000 17th Avenue North
Erastus Milo Cravath Hall, Room #110
Nashville, TN 37208
Tel: 615-329-8681
Fax: 615-329-8802