In the Loop
Editorial : Feb 21, 2023

Dean's Editorial: UF College of the Arts celebrates Provost Joe Glover’s legacy

During his tenure as Provost at the University of Florida, Joe Glover provided meaningful support for the Arts and helped us forge new pathways for interdisciplinary research that will continue to spark creative synergies across UF — and beyond — well into the future.

By Onye P. Ozuzu

Provost Joe Glover recently announced his intention to step back from his position at the end of July. In his departure, Provost Glover leaves behind a remarkable legacy, as well as an exciting path forward for the University of Florida and the Arts.  

On average, the span of tenure for a university provost is approximately four years, nationally. Joe Glover has served as the University of Florida’s Provost for fifteen years — a UF record, and a duration of service distinguished by numerous history-making achievements and initiatives that are directly responsible for UF’s steady ascent in stature as a top-five institution. 

Provost Glover’s support has a long and powerful legacy in the resource structure, the programmatic frameworks, the co-curricular opportunities, and the new directions and interdisciplinary explorations that have made us who we are. His visionary leadership in UF’s AI Initiative, Faculty 500 hiring wave, the Innovation Academy, and the university-wide Moonshot Initiative (which led to the establishment of our Mellon funded Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship) have all been influential in the direction and the development of our college.   

The College of the Arts appreciates Joe Glover’s leadership at UF, his steady support of the Arts, and his vision in participating with us in building an identity for our college as an engine of creativity and innovation that we continue to thrive within and push forward. We are deeply inspired to build on and extend his legacy. 

Looking back  

I recently spoke with College of the Arts Dean Emeritus (2006-2018), Lucinda Lavelli, who states: “I feel that Joe Glover has been the most significant provost in all the [nearly 50] years the College of the Arts has been in existence.” 

The Dean Emeritus emphasized that throughout Provost Glover’s 15 years of service at the University of Florida, he demonstrated an understanding of “the importance of the Arts across campus, and the possibilities in mutually beneficial relationships.” 

She noted that he approached his role with curiosity, empathy, and a proactive focus on creating tangible impacts that touch every corner of the university. 

“I always found Joe Glover receptive to new ideas,” she told me. “He wasn't entrenched in the idea that we have to do everything as we've always done it. He respected the unique nature of the Arts, and he respected what greater resources the Arts could produce to benefit the Gator community. Through his belief and support, a halo effect occurred, which resulted in the college being included in new opportunities from other areas.” 

Provost Glover forged multiple pathways for collaboration to be innovated across UF — and beyond. Through the funding of the Provost, the University of Florida became a founding member of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru) and connected deeply with Imagining America.  

Glover's support for the university-wide efforts to establish UF as a “Creative Campus” also resulted in a series of silo-breaking initiatives that brought researchers together from across disciplines ranging from (to name a few): engineering, entomology, law, medicine, agricultural sciences, and molecular science and genetics, and connected them with the Arts and humanities. 

“I think that because of how UF is laid out — and I think this is true of most universities — it’s almost like anti-gravity keeps people apart. It can be hard to even get to know the people in your own college — and even more so, now, with offices spread all over. Provost Glover helped us develop special ‘creative collision’ occasions that were an opportunity for people to get together — and it worked,” Lavelli says. 

“It was really exciting. You could see that the minds that were open, and seeking, were advancing in their professions — nationally and internationally. And I know from anecdotal evidence that it impacted teaching, as well as research. Faculty members would come over and tell me things like, ‘because of this experience in connecting with [researchers in] the College of Law, I was able to do this with my research,’” she adds. 

Dean Emeritus Lavelli worked with Provost Glover to launch the Creative B summer program in 2010. Anchored by annual funding from the Office of the Provost, Creative B brings national and international guest artists to Gainesville, where they work alongside UF faculty and students to generate new research and create public cultural offerings. Provost Glover went on to support the creation of the UF Creative Campus Committee which supported interdisciplinary and innovative activities across campus year-round.  

Lavelli notes that “this whole feeling of being open to working with the arts in your discipline — that was at the core of Creative Campus. It's through the intersection of many different disciplines that we're going to come up with answers. The idea was that if we work together and talk together, we would be able to come up with ideas we couldn't otherwise.”  

Through Creative B, COTA and other campus and cultural partners created programs such as SwampDance, Community Music (band, choir, and orchestra) summer concerts, University Galleries summer activities, movie nights at the Florida Museum of Natural History and student workshops at the Harn Museum of Art, and co-developed the Center for Undergraduate Research Creativity in Research course. Additionally, partners from across UF produced a range of one-off events to enliven the Summer B semester with cultural offerings open to the public and sponsored by the Office of the Provost. 

Momentum gathering  

In his support for the establishment of Creative B, and his guidance in the program's evolution over the last 12+ years, Provost Glover has fostered UF as an educational institution in which creativity, innovation, collaboration and empathy permeate academic life and impact education. With the common goal of creative synergy, these programs continue to engage UF students and provide unique cultural offerings open to the public during the Summer B term.  

In 2021, Provost Glover requested a “Reimagined Creative B” proposal to update programmatic offerings and engage students directly — particularly incoming undergraduates. Working with participants in past Creative B programs and new campus partners, Creative B will combine the continued involvement of guest artists with new opportunities for guest residencies, creative and scholarly research, professional development opportunities for students, and alignment with UF’s strategic AI initiative.   

As we continue and expand upon the Creative B summer program, we are also happy to announce two-year themes culminating in Provost Glover's support of a biennial activity celebrating UF’s visibility on the international creative stage and connections to cultural programs throughout Gainesville.  

The first two-year thematic program seeks to engage students and the broader public in diverse, innovative, and imaginative activities around the theme of Recovery through the Arts. The pinnacle of the two-year thematic program is a creative, multidisciplinary summit planned for July-August of 2024.  

The College of the Arts recently hired a Creative Campus and College Events Manager, Stephanie Denise Silberman, to facilitate the growth of the Creative B program and produce the biennial summit in consultation with a core advisory group of faculty, staff, and students.  

“Creative B will engage our local communities around the theme of Recovery through the Arts, showcasing one of the many intersections of the arts and sciences by working with diasporic guest artists from across the globe and centering artistic inquiry in addressing the pressing challenges in our world today,” Silberman says. 

Along with the support from Provost Glover, Silberman has also applied for external grant funding to include partnerships with additional community programs to participate in a large-scale production meant to bring diverse communities together and be beneficial to the health and well-being of Gainesville citizens. She expressed a heartfelt concern for building Creative B programs with the input of community residents and having the flexibility to meet their needs. 

“The summer of 2024 will be an exciting and collaborative time to feature the creation of original artistic works and integrative research by UF faculty and students by connecting to our local communities and civic cultural programs. Creative synergies will collide with interdisciplinary events from the City of Gainesville’s One Nation/One Project and SPARC352’s culmination of their Mellon Foundation grant award to support community-engaged artmaking research to advance racial equity in Gainesville,” Silberman says. 

Forward motion 

Of course, Provost Glover’s impact extends well beyond Creative Campus and Creative B. It is reflected in a range of activities that showcase the work of the Arts to catalyze creative teaching, learning, and collaborative research across the University of Florida. Some of the most tangible and lasting examples of his impact on the College of the Arts and across UF are as follows:  

  • - Facilitated the Arts, Humanities, and Cultural Institutions Working Group.  
  • - Instrumental support for the University of Florida and the College of the Arts as founding institutional members of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru).  
  • - Foundational course development for the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. 
  • - Partnership with the vice president to launch UF’s Moonshot research initiatives, which resulted in the establishment of the Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship at the College of the Arts. 
  • - UF’s AI Initiative and the AI 100 hiring plan; the expansion of COTA’s AI hiring allotment from two to four new faculty hires working with artificial intelligence in The Arts.  
  • - Endowment of the Joe Glover Scholarship for Excellence in Musical Theatre; additionally, ongoing support for the Friends of Theatre + Dance.  
  • - Support for New World School of the Arts, an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College, and the UF College of the Arts.  
  • - Provided support and funding from the Office of the Provost for the Gator Marching Band’s state-of-the-art permanent practice facility: the first formal home for the Pride of the Sunshine in the band’s 105+ year history at UF. 
  • - Supported Gator Marching Band international travel to represent UF at the Summer Olympics in London (2012), the upcoming St. Patrick's Day Festival in Cork (2023), the International Band Championships in Limerick (2023), and other festivals happening in Ireland this spring 2023. 

The University of Florida has a long history of interdisciplinary programs that have sparked creativity and innovation, going back many decades.  

I believe that years from now, when we look back on the leaders who have defined who we are and who we strive to be, Joe Glover will stand out among the legacy-makers who shaped the university’s 170-year history. And his consistent facilitation of the arts is an important part of that legacy. His steadfast commitment to amplifying the Arts as a meaningful cultural and economic driver in the State of Florida has etched a clear path forward, guiding us into the future.  

“You can see how important Joe Glover is, and the legacy that he's left,” Dean Emeritus Lavelli remarked, as we were reflecting on the history of the college.  

“And it's not just about the College of the Arts,” she qualifies. “The college has ramifications across the campus in the community and the world — and he helped that to blossom. When we did these things, it was for the college and the university.” 

Provost Glover supported the College of the Arts and its participation in the life of the university not only from his desk, but by being in the room, the theatre, the show. Being with us and one of us.  

When incoming President Sasse was confirmed by UF Board of Trustees, he was asked a question about UF football. He responded by noting that football is a communal ritual of cathartic theatre. 

We look forward to working with President’s Sasse’s choice for Joe Glover’s successor at just that intersection: the space where art and what society was, is and will be is in active, ongoing creative collaboration — the space where we see art everywhere and seek to facilitate its expanding role. Because we know (and: particularly the way we do it at UF) that it widens, broadens and deepens the impacts of everything we do, from sports to STEM research, to AI innovations, to assessing and improving on our conditions, to building the multifaceted wellbeing of Florida’s many peoples. 

The College of the Arts wants to thank Provost Joe Glover for all that he has done for our work.  We wish him all the best.   

Onye P. Ozuzu
Dean and Professor
UF College of the Arts
Accustomed pronouns: she/her/hers