NJIT names alumnus as provost, SVP for academic affairs

Dawn Furnas//March 21, 2023

NJIT names alumnus as provost, SVP for academic affairs

Dawn Furnas//March 21, 2023

John Pelesko, the new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), as of Aug. 1, 2023.

After a nationwide search, New Jersey Institute of Technology has named an alumnus as its next provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, the Newark school announced March 20. 

John Pelesko, who is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of mathematical sciences at the University of Delaware, will join NJIT on Aug. 1. 

Pelesko will succeed interim Provost Atam Dhawan, who took on the role after Senior Executive Vice President and Provost Fadi Deek returned to the faculty as distinguished professor of informatics and mathematical sciences in July 2022 after nine years as provost, NJIT said. 

The new provost will be responsible for enhancing NJIT’s educational programs and expanding its research portfolio through federal, state and industry partnerships. Pelesko will work with NJIT President Teik Lim and the board of trustees on NJIT’s academic priorities.  

“John’s extensive experience as an educator and administrator as well as his familiarity with and passion for NJIT’s mission will enable him to provide the academic leadership that we need to fulfill our commitment to excellence and global impact through education, research, economic development and engagement,” Lim said in a statement. “He knows, first-hand, what makes NJIT tick and offers compelling ideas for how we can evolve to become a preeminent polytechnic university.” 

Pelesko joined Delaware in 2002 and has since served as a professor, department chair, associate dean, interim dean and dean. In his four years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, he led the university’s largest and most diverse college, with 8,000 students, 600 faculty members, 24 academic departments and an annual budget of about $150 million, according to his hiring announcement. 

Some of the college’s accomplishments under Pelesko’s watch included: 

  • Developing an Early College Credit Program;  
  • Establishing new alumni and peer-to-peer mentoring programs;  
  • Launching a Student Success Center that provides professional advising and cocurricular coaching for undergraduates;  
  • Recruiting more than 150 full-time faculty members;
  • Developing academic programs that led to new revenue and resource opportunities; 
  • Additionally, sponsored expenditures in the college have grown by more than 31% during his tenure, NJIT said.

Previously, Pelesko taught mathematics at Georgia Institute of Technology and computing and mathematical sciences at California Institute of Technology.  

Board of Trustees and Provost Search Committee member Elisa Charters said that, in addition to his experience, Pelesko “also demonstrated a determination to ensure the highest levels of inclusion and belonging, which is of critical importance to all of our stakeholders.” 

Pelesko, who earned his Ph.D. in mathematical sciences from NJIT, said, “NJIT embodies the attributes that I value in an institution: a deep commitment to access and student success, a world-class research enterprise, an innovative, entrepreneurial and inclusive culture and an ambition to extend its impact in the world. 

“I’m grateful for this opportunity as I have personally experienced the transformative power of an NJIT education.” 

Pelesko’s appointment follows Ed Wozencroft’s promotion to vice president for digital strategy and chief information officer at NJIT, effective March 20.