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Maria Toyoda Named Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at WNEU

SPRINGFIELD — Maria Toyoda, currently the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of Political Science & Legal Studies at Boston’s Suffolk University, has been appointed senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at Western New England University, effective July 12.

President Robert Johnson announced the appointment, citing Toyoda’s successes in cross-disciplinary collaboration, commitment to student success, procurement of grant funding, modernization of processes, and mobilization of faculty as partners in the recruitment process at her prior institution.

“We are honored to have Dr. Toyoda join us at an important inflection point in the history of Western New England University,” Johnson said. “Currently, the WNE community is crafting a shared ambition to guide us through the next phase of our evolution. Her expertise and leadership will be instrumental as WNE stakes its position as a model for the new traditional university, one that provides an education grounded in professional studies, enhanced by the liberal arts, and renowned for mentored research that produces graduates who are work-ready and world-ready.”

Toyoda will be the university’s chief academic officer and oversee the academic integrity of all colleges, schools, and institutes on campus. The position is responsible for working with the deans and faculty to maintain the quality of current programs, develop new programs, and oversee the academic-appointment process.

“Institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to train active and civically engaged citizens who are discerning in both their consumption and production of information,” Toyoda said. “WNE’s aim of shaping future citizens imbued with personal values of integrity and accountability, tolerance and respect, and social responsibility aligns with my own ideals around education that emphasizes mastery, practice, creativity, perceptiveness, and personal growth.”

In her current role at Suffolk University, Toyoda oversees 18 departments with 200 full-time faculty and staff with responsibility for an undergraduate population of 5,000 students. On March 30, she was honored as one of Get Konnected’s 50 Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education. She received her PhD and master’s degree in government at Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University with honors in values, technology, science, and society.

Toyoda succeeds interim Provost Curt Hamakawa, who will return to his previous position as professor of Sport Management. Hamakawa is also the director of the Business Study Abroad program, the Business Honors program, and the Center for International Sport Business in the university’s College of Business.

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