Joan Saab, who currently serves as Susan B. Anthony Professor of Art History and executive vice provost of academic affairs at the University of Rochester, will become executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of the University of Richmond, effective July 1.
Saab is an experienced administrator and distinguished art history and visual culture scholar with more than 20 years of academic and leadership appointments at Rochester, where she is also currently serving as interim dean of the faculty of Arts, Sciences, & Engineering.
“Dr. Saab’s passions and expertise as a scholar and administrator align with our own institutional priorities,” said University of Richmond President Kevin F. Hallock. “At her core, she believes in advancing educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds, which echoes our commitments to academic excellence, access and affordability, and belonging.”
“The provost plays an essential role in ensuring continued academic excellence and innovation, and we are very pleased to welcome Dr. Saab to the University community in this role,” said R. Lewis Boggs, Board of Trustees rector. “We look forward to her leadership as we continue to pursue ambitious aspirations for our institution and the students we serve.”
In her time at Rochester, Saab has also served as director of the graduate program in Visual and Cultural Studies and chair of the Department of Art and Art History. Her areas of teaching and research include 19th- and 20th-century American visual cultural studies, American cultural history, public culture and community studies, and sensory history.
“I have long been impressed by the University of Richmond and look forward to working with the exceptional faculty, students, and staff to further strengthen the school’s sense of intellectual community and advance the academic mission,” said Saab. “Richmond’s commitment to creating a holistic and inclusive learning environment where all students can thrive mirrors my own core values. I am extremely excited to join the web.”
The recipient of numerous teaching, research, and grant awards, Saab’s accomplishments include funding from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Getty Research Center at UCLA, as well as a University of Rochester Provost’s Research Grant. Her first book, For the Millions: American Art and Culture Between the Wars, was the inaugural volume in the “Arts and Intellectual Life in Modern America series,” published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Her most recent book, Objects of Vision: Making Sense of What We See, is part of the “Studies in Sensory History Series” at Pennsylvania State University Press. She is the author of the interactive, digital book project Searching for Siqueiros, written on the digital publishing platform Scalar, and the lead editor for the Wiley Blackwell Companion to Visual Culture. She is currently completing a manuscript tentatively entitled Tales From the Crypt: Vincent Price and American Visual Culture. She is a sought-after scholar and presenter for invited talks, symposia, and conferences.
Saab earned her undergraduate degree in English and art history from Tufts University, her master’s in American Civilization with a concentration on material culture and museum studies from The George Washington University, and her Ph.D. in American Studies at New York University.
Saab will succeed executive vice president and provost Jeff Legro, who announced he would be stepping down at the end of this academic year having served in the role since 2017. Legro, an international relations scholar, will remain at UR as a full-time member of the faculty.