Provost Daniel Myers began official duties on July 1. Previously, he was vice president and associate provost for faculty affairs at Notre Dame University, where he founded the Center for the Study of Social Movements. His research focuses are rioting and protest, particularly in the United States in the 1960s, and mathematical models of social diffusion processes. For fun, he runs — boasts he hasn’t missed a day of running at least 5K in more than three years.
Where is your hometown?
My parents were more or less nomadic when I was growing up, so I usually say I’m from parts unknown. But the truth is we lived in Ohio, Indiana, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Do you have a large family?
Three sisters and a brother and two parents who are both Baptist ministers. I have two kids, Micah and Michaela, who will both be in college next year.
What attracted you to Marquette?
The people. From the moment I met the search committee, I was impressed with the commitment everyone has to Marquette. That was further amplified when I met President Lovell. When I came for my campus visit, the excitement was ubiquitous among faculty, staff and students.
What has surprised you most about Marquette?
I love being in the middle of the city. The location strikes me as being an incredible resource in service of Marquette’s Jesuit mission.
What does a provost do?
Most people don’t know what the heck a provost is. Even my parents don’t really get it. The provost is in charge of everything academic in nature. It differs some across universities, but at Marquette this means that all of the deans as well as the Office of Student Affairs and IT Services report to me. I’m responsible for managing, budgeting, and developing/guiding the strategic direction of all these units with input from faculty, staff and students.
You earned degrees in political science, higher education and sociology. How did that lead to your research?
To be completely honest, my research focus developed almost by accident. I was taking an advanced statistics seminar as a graduate student and needed a specific kind of data to write my seminar paper. After some false starts I discovered a real treasure in a data set about rioting in the 1960s. The more I worked with it the more interested I became. I realized that understanding the spread of rioting as a social diffusion process was an opportunity to make a big contribution to the literature, that understanding how those riots spread would help understand a lot of other kinds of diffusion processes. That seminar paper was my first major publication, and I was off and running into a very interesting area.
>> Holds bachelor of political science and master of higher education and student affairs from Ohio State University.
>> Completed master’s and doctorate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
>> Published several books and scholarly articles on protest, rioting and mathematical models of the diffusion of social behaviors.
>> Current project launched with a grant from the National Science Foundation to re-examine racial unrest in the United States from 1960–75.