Deborah Prentice
Photo: Denise Applewhite/Princeton University
Prentice will be the first American to lead the University of Cambridge as vice-chancellor

Princeton provost and psychology professor Deborah Prentice is slated to become the first American to lead the University of Cambridge as vice-chancellor, the institution’s top academic and administrative officer. 

Cambridge announced Prentice’s nomination Sept. 26, and the institution’s Regent House, a group of academic and senior administrative staff, approved the appointment in early October. Her seven-year term as vice-chancellor will begin July 1, 2023.

Mark Lewisohn, deputy chair of the Cambridge University Council (board of trustees), said the university “will be gaining a highly experienced and formidably talented academic and leader who will be able to guide Cambridge through the many opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

As provost since 2017, Prentice has served as the University’s chief academic and budget officer. A Princeton news release said she will depart “a campus transformed” by strategic initiatives she has helped to lead, including the undergraduate student body expansion and the renovation of the Princeton University Art Museum. 

Prentice joined Princeton as a lecturer in 1988, while still working toward her Yale Ph.D., and was appointed as an assistant professor the following year. Her research has explored gender stereotypes, intimate partner violence, and excessive alcohol use. She served in a series of leadership roles on campus, including chair of the psychology department for 12 years and dean of the faculty from 2014 to 2017.