Longtime Simon's Rock professor named provost

John Weinstein, an associate professor of Chinese and Asian studies at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, will assume the post of provost starting July 1.

GREAT BARRINGTON — Bard College at Simon's Rock has hired one of its associate professors of Chinese and Asian studies as its new provost starting July 1.

John Weinstein will replace Ian Bickford, who will lead Bard College partner Fulbright University Vietnam, where he is acting provost and vice president.

Weinstein has worked at Simon's Rock since 2001, and he also teaches courses in Asian and Western theater, women's studies and queer studies.

He also has been dean of early colleges at Simon's Rock since 2017 and helped start its first early program in New York City, Bard High School Early College. He also was a principal for five years at Bard's early college in Newark, N.J.

"He is the ideal person to lead Simon's Rock in its next chapter," Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, said in a Feb. 28 statement.

Weinstein could not be reached for comment.

Simon's Rock, set in the woods off Alford Road, is for students ready for college-level coursework after their freshman or sophomore year of high school. According to the school's website, 450 students are enrolled, and 40 percent are people of color. Tuition is more than $70,000 per year, and more than 80 percent of students have scholarships. Most students live on campus.

Like all colleges, it has had its share of problems. The college found itself managing a spiraling crisis after one student made a series of hate crime hoaxes and a faked an attack on herself last fall. The incident forced administrators to revisit how it keeps students safe.

Simon's Rock also is part of Bard's network of international programs, which Bickford has worked for a decade to steer.

Now, Bickford, who was hired as provost at Simon's Rock in 2016, will take the helm at Fulbright University Vietnam. Fulbright is one school in the Open Society University Network, founded by Bard and Central European University in Vienna and endowed by $1 billion this year from George Soros' Open Society Foundations.

Botstein is the network's first chancellor.

The group's intent is to prepare students with "critical thinking, open intellectual inquiry, and fact-based research to strengthen foundations of open society amid authoritarian resurgence."

In 2011, Soros also gave Bard College, whose main campus is at Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., $60 million to support its Center for Civic Engagement.

Heather Bellow can be reached at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.