Following 25 years of service to Western Washington University, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Brent Carbajal has announced his retirement effective summer 2022.
“The role of the provost at any university is paramount in shaping the mission, standards and culture of the institution. In his time at Western, Brent has nurtured the source of Western’s outstanding academic reputation and its core excellence in the liberal arts and sciences,” said President Sabah Randhawa. “On a personal note, I will be losing a true partner whose guidance, judgement and friendship I have come to trust and rely upon.”
During his tenure as provost, Carbajal has advocated for and supported many campus initiatives and funding requests of the Legislature. Firmly committed to providing students “equity of access and equity of outcome,” and informed by his strong belief in the opportunities and habits of mind a liberal arts education fosters, his has been a strong voice for institutional implementation of high-impact academic practices for students and for supporting faculty and staff in that important student success work. Among other student-related efforts, increasing and enhancing student access to international and cultural engagement has been a key underpinning of Carbajal’s work related to high-impact academic experiences at Western.
Also, central to Carbajal’s position has been working with academic and faculty leadership to attract faculty to Western’s academic programs and nurture their success. The Provost’s Diversity and Inclusion Hiring Initiative, started in 2017-18, and the Faculty Mentoring Initiative, initiated a year later, have been important contributors to attracting a more diverse faculty to Western over the past few years and enabling their long-term success.
The word for retirement in Spanish is ‘jubilación.’ As I mark this point in my life, my jubilation derives from the richness of my career here, the hope that I have had anything at all to do with what I believe to be a wonderful university, and the conviction that we really do, in many impactful ways, ‘make waves.'
“As I look back on my time at Western Washington University, I am humbled by even having been associated with the excellence that characterizes this place. As a faculty member, department chair, dean, and provost, I have had the unique opportunity to interact with people from every division of the university and just about every unit. The commitment to student success that pervades Western’s culture and operations is absolutely amazing. It is not hyperbole when I say that I have been inspired by students, faculty, and staff at every level of governance with which I’ve been involved.
“The word for retirement in Spanish is ‘jubilación.’ As I mark this point in my life, my jubilation derives from the richness of my career here, the hope that I have had anything at all to do with what I believe to be a wonderful university, and the conviction that we really do, in many impactful ways, ‘make waves,’ Carbajal said.”
Carbajal holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Washington and has been at Western since 1997, serving as a professor of Spanish and for eight years as chair of the university’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages. He became dean of Western’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the university’s largest college with 14 departments and two interdisciplinary programs offering 70 bachelor's degrees and 13 master's degrees in 2008. As a student-athlete himself in college, he was also proud to serve as Western’s Faculty Athletics Representative from 2006-2013. In 2013, he was named Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs by former President Bruce Shepard.
Prior to Western, Carbajal was an assistant and associate professor of Spanish at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He has published widely in the areas of Latin American literature and culture and Hispanic-American literature and culture.
“I am delighted that Brent has found such great success in administrative roles. His managerial acumen, intellect, humility, genuine kindness and excellent organization skills have served him and the university extremely well,” Randhawa said.
A university-wide search committee will be assembled, and a nationwide search will commence in early fall.