Following a national search, The University of Tulsa has named Janet K. Levit provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, effective May 7. She replaces Roger Blais, who is retiring after more than 40 years at TU. Levit is the first woman to serve as provost of Tulsa’s flagship comprehensive research university.
Levit has served as the university’s vice president for strategic initiatives since January 2017. Before that, she served as the first female dean of the TU College of Law, where she continues as a professor. During the past year, she successfully structured and garnered board approval for TU’s five-year strategic plan.
“Janet has proven herself a driven leader who sees the big picture and knows how to operationalize ideas and build effective teams,” said TU President Gerard Clancy. “The adoption of the strategic plan highlights Janet’s strengths in stakeholder engagement, educational innovation, strategic analytics and powerful communication skills.”
Levit, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and her law and master’s degrees from Yale, has served as a TU faculty member since 1995. While dean of TU Law, faculty and staff collaborated to improve student outcomes, contain legal education costs, reorient the curriculum toward experiential learning and innovate around the core J.D. program to offer accessible, targeted legal training to those beyond traditional law school students. The transformative results include:
- Raising the reputation of TU Law, as measured by U.S. News & World Report, from the fourth quartile to the second quartile
- Launching a legal clinic and growing student externship opportunities
- Revamping the Office of Professional Development, helping graduates successfully launch their legal careers at a rate that placed TU Law among the top 25 law schools
- Developing and promoting an online master’s program, ultimately accounting for nearly a quarter of the student body
Levit has emerged as a thought leader on implicit bias and how to counter it in order to empower women from all walks of life. Her work in the field has garnered numerous honors including Tulsa’s Women of the Year Pinnacle Awards’ Anna C. Roth Legacy Award, TU Law Hall of Fame, James C. Lang Mentoring Award and “50 Making a Difference” Circle of Excellence. Levit currently is a member of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women.
Through the years, she has served on boards and in leadership positions for organizations including YPO, Still She Rises, Teach for America, the City of Tulsa’s Citizen Advisory Board for Community Policing, the Booker T. Washington Foundation for Excellence and the Tulsa Jewish Federation.
“Janet’s experience on campus, in Tulsa and across the country make her the ideal fit for this critical role at TU,” Clancy said. “She will work collaboratively with faculty, staff, alumni and students to better position the university to meet the challenges of higher education in the 21st century and to welcome the opportunities of educating future generations of creative and thoughtful leaders.”
Clancy also thanked Blais for two decades of service as provost and his commitment to transforming TU from a largely commuter college to a Top 100 residential doctoral university. The University of Tulsa is a Top 50 private university and the highest ranked college in Oklahoma.
“I am honored and humbled to step into Roger’s shoes,” Levit said. “I have complete faith in TU’s strategic plan, which is rooted in academics and student support. I look forward to advancing the university’s commitment to teaching, mentorship, research and community engagement.
“Higher education faces a daunting future, but TU is well-positioned with one foot in the liberal arts and the other in novel research. I enjoy solving complex problems and embrace the chance to help Dr. Clancy make The University of Tulsa the standard-bearer for a revitalized academic experience.”