Dr. Benjamin Rifkin was named interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs on May 1, 2023. He had previously served as Dean of FDU’s Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences. Among many efforts, he worked on two major curricular initiatives within Becton College. First, he worked with Becton College faculty, and faculty and staff beyond Becton College, to develop new interdisciplinary programs in leadership studies, public health, diversity, equity and inclusion studies, digital and multimedia storytelling, medical humanities, and integrative majors, combining the sciences and writing, the sciences and the arts, and the sciences and management. He also launched an initiative to infuse project-based learning in the arts and sciences curricula with learning tasks with students at partner institutions around the world, with the first pilot course to be taught in Fall 2023.
Before coming to FDU in 2022, Dr. Rifkin served as a Professor of Russian and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Hofstra University. He was previously the provost at Ithaca College and before that the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at The College of New Jersey.
He has an impressive record of scholarship in Russian Studies and Language Pedagogy. His work on Language Pedagogy and his service to his discipline has been widely recognized by his peers, as has his advocacy on behalf of students, women, and interfaith dialogue. He is often in demand as a speaker on events in Eastern Europe and Russia. He has won three awards for his scholarship from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages, and awards for his service to the profession from three different scholarly associations. He has also been recognized with a doctorate of letters honoris causa from Middlebury College for his scholarship on language education and intercultural understanding.