Provost Visiting Professors

About the Program

Through the University’s strategic plan, Building on Distinction, and the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, Brown is renewing and reinforcing its commitment to achieving its mission at greater levels of excellence by engaging diverse populations of exceptional students and faculty. The Provost’s Visiting Professor Program (PVPP) is part of a coordinated pipeline of programs spanning pre-college, undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and faculty levels designed to facilitate this engagement. Visiting professors will contribute to the community through scholarship teaching and programming aligned with their research.
The aim of the Provost’s Visiting Professor Program is to attract highly accomplished and visible senior scholars who are making distinctive contributions to their fields. As such, the program has a number of objectives: to help Brown build a critical mass of diverse faculty and scholars; to reinforce the University’s commitment to an open and rigorous academic community; and, in some cases, to serve as a powerful recruitment tool. 
The program solicits nominations for the visiting professorships broadly, including from the campus community and directly from scholars interested in applying for the positions.  The program will host up to four new visitors per year with appointments lasting between 6 and 24 months, consistent with the sabbatical and leave policies at visitors’ home universities.Visiting Professors will be supported in their continued scholarship while at Brown, and they will be broadly introduced to the Brown community through well-publicized general-audience lectures.

Nomination & Selection Criteria

Selection Committee Members

Provost’s Visiting Professors

Professor Sylvester James Gates, Jr.

Appointment through June 2017 with Physics

Professor Gates is Distinguished University Professor, University Regents Professor, John H. Toll Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Particle and String Theory at the University of Maryland. Gates was awarded the 2011 National Medal of Science, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. He currently serves on the Maryland State Board of Education and also on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). As a member of the PCAST he was co-chair of its working group on STEM preeminence for the nation and co-authored a report to the President: ”Prepare and Inspire K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) for America’s Future.”

Dr. Ronald Aubert

Dr. Ronald Aubert

Appointment through December 2017 with the School of Public Health and CSREA

Dr. Ronald Aubert is the Chief Science Officer and lead scientist for Research and Evaluation Analytics, LLC (R&EA).  He is responsible for strategic direction, scientific oversight and project portfolio selection for all of R&EA activities.  Research and Evaluation Analytics, LLC, is an independent healthcare consulting group that specializes in epidemiology, health outcomes research, statistical modeling, randomized trials and observational study design, economic evaluation and medical writing.

Prior to R&EA, Dr. Aubert was Vice President of Advanced Analytics in Medco Health Solutions’ Department of Advanced Clinical Services and Research.  In this role, he was responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of teams that provided integrated claims analysis, retrospective database studies related to personalized medicine, technology solutions for managing and analyzing large databases, and evaluating e-Prescribing, health messaging and education programs delivered through the Internet. 

Before joining Medco, Dr. Aubert was a Senior Health Care Analyst at the Aetna Center for Health Care Research, a Commander for the U.S. Public Health Service, Chief of the Epidemiology Section, Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Aubert is currently adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina.  He has held appointments at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Public Health.

Dr. Aubert received a B.A. in biology from Oberlin College, an MSPH and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service fellowship at the CDC.  He has won numerous awards and has been published extensively in scientific journals. 


Dr. John Asher Johnson

Dr. John Asher Johnson

Appointment through May, 2017 with Physics and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA)

Dr. John Asher Johnson received his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology), and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Astronomy from the University of California, Berkeley. He then held a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Astronomy and Astrophysics, based at the Institute for Astronomy (University of Hawai'i). After spending four years as an assistant professor of Planetary Astronomy at Caltech, he is now a Professor of Astronomy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has been awarded the Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, the David & Lucile Packard Fellowship, and the AAS Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for "for major contributions to understanding fundamental relationships between extrasolar planets and their parent stars." In 2013, he was named one of Astronomy Magazine’s “Ten Rising Stars” in astrophysics. His primary research focus is on the detection and characterization of planets outside our Solar System, commonly known as exoplanets. His most recent work is focused on studying the properties of Earth-like planets around the Galaxy’s least massive stars, commonly known as red dwarfs. His notable discoveries include three of the smallest planets discovered to date, each smaller than the Earth and one the size of Mars. His statistical analysis of planets discovered around red dwarfs has revealed that there exist 1-3 Earth-like planets per star throughout the Galaxy. In addition to papers in professional journals and conferences, his work has been featured in the magazines Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Physics Today, Discover and New Scientist.