Dr. Peter West was appointed Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs in July 2021, after arriving at Mercy College in June 2020 as Dean of the School of Liberal Arts. Throughout his administrative career, Dr. West has worked with faculty and other campus partners to design and implement programs aimed at helping students achieve success in their academic and professional careers—including, most recently, a new co-requisite model for first-year math students at Mercy College. Prior to joining Mercy, Dr. West spent 12 years at Adelphi University, where he served as Associate Provost for Student Success and Associate Dean for General Education. In these roles, he collaborated with faculty, academic leaders, and student support offices to establish a coordinated and equity-minded structure for helping all students get the most out of their college experience. Prior to his time at Adelphi, Dr. West served as assistant professor of English at the University of Wyoming and visiting assistant professor of English at Emory University.
Dr. West, a Professor of English in our Department of Literature and Language, is a scholar of nineteenth-century American literature and culture whose published work has explored range of subjects—including the emergence of penny press journalism and its impact on American fiction, the role of slavery in the history of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, and the popularity of moving panoramas in the antebellum era. He holds a doctorate in English from Emory University and a bachelor’s degree with honors in English from Wesleyan University. He has published two major works: The Arbiters of Reality: Hawthorne, Melville, and the Rise of Mass Information Culture (2008), which was rereleased in paperback in 2015, and The Panorama: Texts and Contexts, 1787-1900 (2013), a five-volume collection he co-edited and authored with a team of international collaborators. He is also author of numerous other scholarly publications on 19th-century literature and culture. The Interim Provost role is an exciting opportunity for Dr. West to work with faculty, Deans, and executive leadership to continue to support the students of Mercy College, and to engage with community partners to identify and nurture new opportunities to serve our region.