Message from the President
April 6, 2016

Dear LMU Community:

Joseph Hellige, Ph.D., LMU’s executive vice president and provost since 2012, has decided to step down from his position at the end of the 2016-17 academic year. Joe, who has been responsible for the academic and operational aspects of the university, including academic affairs, administration, business and finance, and student affairs, plans to take a yearlong sabbatical, then return to teaching psychology.

During Joe’s leadership as provost, he initiated and oversaw many strategic activities that have strengthened significantly the academic climate and rigor at LMU. He also led efforts to strengthen our commitment to educating the whole person—ensuring that our students grow to their full human potential. Below are a few of Joe’s noteworthy accomplishments, both as executive vice president and provost and previously as vice president for research and dean of Graduate Studies. Over just the past few years, Joe:

§  shepherded the adoption of the new Core Curriculum, deepening the connection between our teaching and our mission;

§  led the strategic planning process that resulted in the successful adoption of the 2012-2020 Strategic Plan, providing continuity for the university’s future, including creating and chairing the Provost’s Planning Council, which oversees the ongoing implementation of our highest strategic initiatives;

§  provided leadership for our WASC accreditation process, leading to accreditation for a full 10 years, with commendations for strategic planning, sound fiscal management, a culture of assessment, and healthy shared governance;

§  led the creation of a budget process that purposefully and self-consciously aligns the allocation of resources with our highest strategic priorities;

§  worked with the Faculty Senate to revise and articulate clear processes for the promotion and tenure of faculty;

§  grew our academic grants program;

§  devised an integrated strategy for expanding our graduate studies;

§  led the implementation of BCLA’s 4-unit curriculum, bringing added academic rigor to our classrooms;

§  improved the campus climate for students with LMU Cares, which is now a model program for creating a respectful environment;

§  facilitated the launching of the inaugural class of the Ignatian Service Corps;

§  appointed or reappointed the deans of all six of our Westchester campus colleges/schools, as well as the dean of Graduate Studies, and worked with the deans and their respective faculty colleagues to finalize and implement their unit-level strategic plans;


The results of Joe’s leadership are reflected in where we are today:

§  We have set LMU records for the number of applicants seeking admission, and we have enrolled increasingly diverse, academically talented freshmen classes;

§  Our average first-year retention rate for the past four years has been above 90 percent — a substantial increase from the previous 10-year period;

§  Our preparation of students for their career pathways is greatly enhanced;

§  Our rankings for various divisions, colleges, and programs have improved substantially.


Joe came to Loyola Marymount University in July 2007 as the inaugural vice president for research and dean of Graduate Studies, then served for two years as senior vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer. He was at another Southern California university (OK, it was USC) for more than 30 years as a faculty member, and he served for seven years as USC’s vice provost and dean of the graduate school. 

Joe is also a distinguished scholar in cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. He has published books and articles on his primary field of research, information processing differences between the left and right cerebral hemispheres in humans, including individual differences in cognitive processing, and in the organization of the cerebral hemispheres. In 1992, he was identified as one of the “50 most-cited authors in psychology 1986-1990” as well as one of the 50 “highest-impact authors in psychology 1986-1990” and as one of only 30 authors to make both lists.

We will conduct a nationwide search to find candidates to fill this vital and prominent position.

I must share that my time with Joe, as a sibling vice president for several years prior to my arrival at LMU, and particularly following my arrival here, has been one of confidence and constant intellectual joy. Joe understands our mission. He understands the lives of faculty members, of student development professionals, of staff, and of our students. He has made sound decisions and has provided many of us not just sound, considerate advice, but also a smarting sense of humor. (And I mean smarting: when he gets to you, it hurts!) Among his many professional accomplishments, he has also become a guide and source of joy of and to his four new grandchildren.

We are lucky to have Joe as a colleague. I am grateful for all the creativity, long hours, and hard work Joe has dedicated to LMU, and I am thrilled that we will continue to enjoy and benefit from Joe’s company when he returns to the classroom.

With sincere appreciation and thanks,


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.
President