Nayef Samhat Appointed ProvostGAMBIER, Ohio (March 9, 2009)
President S. Georgia Nugent has announced the appointment of Nayef H. Samhat to the position of provost. Samhat is the Frank B. and Virginia B. Hower Associate Professor of Government and International Studies and associate dean at Centre College in Kentucky. He will begin work at Kenyon on July 1.
Samhat, who has taught at Centre since 1996, specializes in international relations theory and international political economy. He also studies the politics of the Middle East, particularly international relations in the Middle East.
Samhat succeeds Howard Sacks, who became interim provost shortly after Gregory Spaid announced in the spring of 2008 that he would step down from the position of provost and return to the classroom.
"Last year, as we held campus-wide conversations about the search for a new provost, there was strong interest in identifying an external candidate who could bring 'fresh eyes,' and 'fresh ideas' to the College," Nugent said. "Professor Samhat's appointment as Kenyon's provost, I believe, realizes precisely that opportunity to bring to Kenyon a fresh thinker, yet someone who thoroughly understands and shares Kenyon's values and ideals. Both Professor Samhat and his wife, Prema, are ardent and articulate believers in the ideal of liberal arts education and in the values of life in a small community. I feel certain they will become valued members of our Kenyon community."
In his roles as program chair, division chair, and associate dean at Centre, Samhat has gained wide experience in program and curriculum development, faculty support and evaluation, and financial management. As a teacher and scholar, he has designed innovative courses and curricula, built an impressive record of publications and presentations, and been dedicated to the development of a global perspective.
"His background crosses national boundaries as well as professional domains, and his interests cross disciplinary fields," Nugent said. "I believe he is a great match for Kenyon at this moment, and I'm very excited about Professor Samhat joining us here at the College."
Before joining the Centre faculty, Samhat taught at Elmhurst College and was a graduate assistant at Northwestern University. Samhat holds a B.A. in international affairs from George Washington University's School of International and Public Affairs, a master's in international affairs from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern.
"Kenyon's strong commitment to the liberal arts, an extraordinary faculty and student body, and a powerful sense of community make this a unique opportunity in a time of challenge to higher education," Samhat said. "I am delighted to serve together with colleagues across the College community to preserve and strengthen the values and mission of Kenyon, those things that make it a special place among American liberal arts colleges."
Samhat is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and is married to Prema Samhat, who grew up in Delhi, India, where her father was the principal of St. Stephen's College. Prema has worked in health care administration for the past twelve years. The Samhats have three daughters: Alia, a senior at Northwestern; Jehan, a sophomore at the University of Kentucky; and Leila, a first-year high school student.
Samhat has published in Millenium: Journal of International Studies, International Politics, Global Society, and Policy Studies Journal. He also contributed to the anthology Global Society in Transition: An International Politics Reader. And he is the author of Democratizing Global Politics with Rodger Payne of the University of Louisville.
As a result of Samhat's expertise on the Middle East, he has published opinion essays in the Lexington Herald-Leader, Miami Herald, Danbury Connecticut News Times, and the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"I think Nayef Samhat is an inspired choice," said Robert Mauck, chair of the search committee and associate professor of biology. "I look forward to having him as our next provost and as a part of our community."