Westfield State plans to resume its traditional, on-campus schedule for fall 2020. Given the ongoing uncertainties related to COVID-19, we believe it is also prudent to develop contingency plans. Updates will be communicated as they become available.

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Dr. Robert Kersting named Westfield State’s new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Robert Kersting, Ph.D., a long-time professor in Westfield State University’s Department of Social Work, has been appointed as the University’s interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The appointment was announced today at a meeting of the Board of Trustees by Westfield State President Ramon Torrecilha, Ph.D., who informed the group that Dr. Kersting would assume his elevated role at Westfield State on July 1, 2020.

According to Torrecilha, Kersting, as the University’s chief academic officer, will most immediately provide key oversight to critical academic initiatives and the planning for the University’s upcoming New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) accreditation, as well as ongoing enhancements to the University’s student engagement, achievement, and retention measures.

“Dr. Kersting’s extensive institutional knowledge and demonstrated leadership with student-centered programs and initiatives and influential University committees position him well for success as provost on the University’s executive leadership team,” said Torrecilha.

Kersting founded and directed Westfield State’s highly-enrolled social work undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He continues to serve as the director for the Master of Social Work (MSW) program. In addition to his respected management with both programs, Kersting has provided valuable contributions to a lengthy portfolio of critical committees during his nearly 25 years at Westfield State. These include the Academic Policy Committee, Graduate Education Council, Science Center Building Steering Committee, Special Committee on University Planning, Campus Technology Committee, Institutional Diversity Advisory Committee, and the 2016–17 Provost Search Committee, among others.

Prior to Westfield State, he taught at Bridgewater State College, Eastern Connecticut State University, and Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Social Work. Beyond his teaching experience, he was a practicing social worker for 15 years.

Kersting’s national professional affiliations include service on the Council for Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Education Policy and the National Association of Social Work Massachusetts Chapter Board of Directors. He also serves as an accreditation site visitor for CSWE. His current areas of interest include social work practice with individuals and families, critical thinking, gerontology, and HIV/AIDS. 

Kersting holds a Ph.D. in social work from Rutgers University in New Jersey, a Master of Social Work from Fordham University in New York, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, sociology, and social work from Hope College in Michigan.

He will assume the role of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Westfield State in July, following the service of current Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Diane Prusank.

“I thank and celebrate Provost Prusank’s many achievements and contributions that have paved a path for Dr. Kersting to assume this important role. Her commitment to and exemplary leadership of the Division of Academic Affairs since 2018 will ensure the continued success of our formalized college structure and improved processes to benefit our students and the faculty and staff responsible for inspiring, educating, and supporting them,” said Torrecilha.

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