Dr. Vanessa Morest Appointed as the New Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

by Dana Hirsch


In an email to the college community on May 2, President Belinda Miles announced the appointment of Dr. Vanessa Morest, who is currently dean of institutional effectiveness at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut, as the new provost and vice president of academic affairs, starting this summer.

According to Dr. Miles, “Dr. Morest is an accomplished academic leader, administrator, researcher, author, and faculty member with two decades of community college experience. She is an immigrant who values public education and understands the experience of first generation college students [and her] commitment to college access, student success, and academic excellence is evident in her progressively responsible experience with community colleges.”

Dr. Morest will take office in the summer. (Photo: Courtesy of WCC)

In the email, Dr. Miles states that Dr. Morest has been the dean of institutional effectiveness at Norwalk Community College since 2006. There she was responsible for strategic planning, technology integration, creating a first-year experience program, and a $2.3 million Title V grant for reforming advising and introducing a learning commons.

According to Dr. Miles, Dr. Morest served as interim dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer, overseeing all academic areas of the college, as well as non-credit programs and academic support services from 2014 to 2016.

“Prior to joining Norwalk, Dr. Morest served as assistant director for postsecondary research at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) where she led and contributed to numerous studies evaluating community college programs and practices,” Dr. Miles said. “ She has travelled to more than 50 community colleges nationwide, interviewing faculty, staff, administrators, and students about best practices, challenges, and successes.”

Among other publications, Dr. Morest is the author and co-author on a number of reports, articles, and chapters on community colleges, in addition she has earned an Exemplary Publication Award from the American Educational Research Association, according to Dr. Miles.

“Dr. Morest has taught as an adjunct faculty member in sociology at Norwalk and has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at Teachers College, Columbia University,” Dr. Miles said. “She earned her B.A. in English from the College of William and Mary and her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology of education from Teachers College, Columbia University [and her] dissertation, ‘Privatization and Racial Segregation: A National Study of the Expansion and Institutionalization of the Charter School Movement,’ earned distinction.”

According to Dr. Miles, the appointment of Dr. Morest stands at the end of an extensive national search that was concluded in spring 2016.

“An inclusive search committee of faculty members, administrators, staff, and student representatives reviewed an impressive pool of highly qualified candidates,” Dr. Miles said. “Interest in the position was wide-ranging, with significant interest expressed by diverse and accomplished college leaders from across the country.  Thanks to the search committee and colleagues at R.H. Perry search firm for their tremendous investment of time and talent to achieve this positive outcome.”

According to Dr. Miles, Dr. Morest will start her transition into her new role in the summer, and a formal welcome reception for the college community at the beginning of the fall semester will be arranged.

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