University of Southern Maine hires new Provost

The University of Southern Maine has chosen Dr. Georita M. Frierson to serve as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. 

Frierson will join the University on June 1. 

“We are delighted to be welcoming Dr. Frierson to our university community, and I look forward to partnering with her on key initiatives that will enhance USM’s academic growth and standing. She brings expertise that will help us to strategically advance key initiatives and programs,” said University of Southern Maine President Jacqueline Edmondson. “I am grateful to Interim Provost Adam Tuchinsky for his dedicated leadership and support during this period of transition, and I am grateful to the search committee and the University community for their engagement with this important search.”

Frierson most recently served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. She also served as chair of Seton Hall’s Seeds of Innovation Implementation Coordination Committee, which addressed the institutional sustainability component of the University’s Strategic Plan, “Harvest Our Treasures.”

The Provost serves as the University of Southern Maine’s Chief Academic Officer. Among her duties, Frierson will be responsible for strategic oversight of the USM’s academic programs, strengthening and enhancing the University’s culture of inquiry and research, ensuring compliance with various accrediting bodies, and overseeing academic governance. Frierson looks forward to announcing her goals and priorities after she has had an opportunity to conduct listening tours with faculty and staff.

“I am excited to start a new chapter of my academic career at USM,” she said. “The leadership and vision of Dr. Edmondson is extraordinary, and I am honored to work with her as the next Provost at USM.” 

Previously, Frierson served as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the School of Arts, Sciences, and Education at D’Youville University in Buffalo, New York. 

Before holding that role, while a member of the Psychology faculty at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, she launched and oversaw initial accreditation of the APA-accredited-on-contingency Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology and was its inaugural Program Director. Simultaneously, she held the position of Department Head, Department of Psychology. Prior to her time at Rowan, she was a faculty member in the Psychology Department at Howard University, a historically Black college/university, where she was the Program Director — and oversaw the APA re-accreditation— of the longest-running Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology at a historically Black college/university.  

At Seton Hall, she raised over $2.8 million through philanthropic initiatives, developed new programs in applied physics and engineering and health sciences, and restructured the Dean’s Office to bring more faculty to the leadership table in a way that was budget neutral. Frierson has been accepted as a fellow into the 2023 class of the prestigious AGB Institute for Leadership and Governance in Higher Education. 

Frierson holds a B.A. with honors in Psychology from Hampton University, a historically Black college/university. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in Health Psychology, from The Ohio State University. She completed her residency and post-doctoral studies at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.  

Frierson has served on multiple committees for the American Psychological Association, such as the Commission on Accreditation (from 2016-2021), which she chaired in 2021. A licensed clinical psychologist, she has dedicated her life to African American women’s mental and physical health in her research activity, especially as it relates to cancer diagnoses and access to psychological services. Frierson is committed to mentoring students and faculty from all backgrounds to increasingly diversify the academic community. 

 A lover of movies and dogs — ask her for pictures of her pets and she’ll delight over pictures of yours — Frierson is thrilled to join the USM community. While visiting with faculty, staff, and students, she said, “I saw a passion for lifelong learning and a commitment to social justice and community matters. I just knew that USM was the perfect academic home for me in my new role as Provost.” She looks forward to lending her efforts to further the shared vision for social justice and belonging across USM’s campuses and online programs.  

Frierson will take over from Interim Provost Adam-Max Tuchinsky, who has served since last summer when then-Provost Jeannine Diddle Uzzi left to join Adler University. Tuchinsky will resume his former role as Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.