Provost Elissa Tenny

Elissa Tenny, Ed.D.

As Provost and the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Elissa Tenny is the chief academic officer who stewards the educational mission by coordinating the leadership of many aspects of the school, including academic affairs, student affairs, and technology concerns, among others. She assumed the post in the fall of 2010, calling the role “the keeper of the academic vision.” Tenny’s signature initiatives as Provost include establishing the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration; implementing SAIC’s Strategic Plan, which identified priority areas of focus for enhancing academic programming, creating organizational efficiencies, and developing diversity initiatives; and realizing a library renovation while bringing a sense of focused collegiality to the daily operations of the school. Tenny is the President-Designate for SAIC and will succeed current President Walter E. Massey on July 1, 2016.

Tenny came to SAIC from Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, where she served as Provost and Dean from 2002 to 2010. At Bennington she successfully promoted interdisciplinary and integrative scholarship, crafting strategic plans for the college, enhancing curriculum planning, and working on faculty development.

Prior to joining Bennington, Tenny served in a variety of roles at the New School in New York City from 1975 to 2002, eventually holding the positions of Acting Dean (1998–2001) and Vice Dean (2001–02). The New School houses the internationally recognized Parsons School of Design, and Tenny’s focus there included promoting diversity, quality, and creativity in academic programming and student services. 

In addition to her long list of outstanding career accomplishments in academia, Tenny holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Tenny calls SAIC “a gem and a resource, and a very important and distinguished institution in the city of Chicago.”

Office of the Provost

Location: 37 S. Wabash Ave., suite 821
Front desk phone: 312.899.1293
Fax: 312.899.1461

Elissa Tenny, Provost
Paul Coffey, Vice Provost and Dean of Community Engagement
Jeff Ward, Assistant to the Provost: 312.899.5133