University of Arkansas Appoints Sharon Gaber as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Sharon L. Gaber
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Sharon L. Gaber

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sharon L. Gaber, currently the senior associate provost at Auburn University, has been appointed as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas, effective May 1, 2009.

Gaber will succeed Robert Smith, who retired as provost on June 30. In addition to serving as the chief academic officer for the state's flagship university in Fayetteville, Gaber also will hold a faculty appointment as professor of sociology in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, pending approval of the university's board of trustees.

"We were fortunate to have four exceptionally skilled and capable finalists for this most important position on the university's leadership team," said Chancellor G. David Gearhart, who chaired the 20-person search committee. "The quality of our finalists demonstrates the magnitude of this position and the increasingly strong national reputation of the University of Arkansas."

"In Dr. Gaber, we gain one of the top academic administrators in the nation, one with a stellar track record in terms of scholarship, research and leadership," he added. "She has a clear vision for 21st century teaching and learning that should help guide the university to new heights, and her philosophy for academic affairs will dovetail nicely with our 'students first' approach to education. The search committee and I were extremely impressed with her presentation, and are excited to have her join our team."

Gaber has served in her current position since 2007 and is responsible for all academic personnel and budgeting at Auburn. She directly manages the Graduate School, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, the women's studies program, the office of information technology, the program for students with disabilities and the office of international education. She also chairs Auburn University's enrollment management council.

In her new role, she will be responsible for academic policy development and oversight of the university's 10 colleges and schools, as well as the offices of admissions, registrar, financial aid, the libraries, the Air Force and Army ROTC units, the Teaching and Faculty Support Center, and the offices of institutional research, institutional diversity and education, and summer session.

"I am delighted to be selected as the next provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas," said Gaber. "I was very impressed with the faculty, students, staff and administrators during my visits. I look forward to working with all of these groups, as well as Chancellor Gearhart and his leadership team.

"The University of Arkansas is positively poised to continue its quest for excellence," she added. "I envision helping lead the university's academic areas with an emphasis on increasing enrollment of quality undergraduate and graduate students; increasing research funding; improving the student six-year graduation rate; and increasing diversity among students as well as faculty and staff."

Gaber had previously served Auburn as associate provost for academic administration from 2005-2007, in which she worked extensively on academic policy development and implementation as well as personnel and budgeting. From 2002-2006, she was associate dean and professor in Auburn's College of Architecture, Design and Construction, responsible for the college’s budget, promotion and tenure mentoring, research and sponsored programs, and graduate program enhancements.

Prior to her tenure at Auburn, Gaber spent 11 years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the final year as faculty associate to the vice chancellor for research. Her initial appointment at Nebraska in 1991 was as assistant professor in the department of community and regional planning. She gained tenure in 1998 and was awarded an endowed professorship, and went on to become department chair in 2001.

An accomplished researcher, Gaber has earned 25 project grants totaling more than $1.78 million. She has authored or co-authored 40 papers and professional reports in the field of community and regional planning.

Gaber holds a Doctor of Philosophy in city and regional planning from Cornell University, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Southern California, and baccalaureate degrees in economics and urban studies from Occidental College.

"It's become clear to me during the search process that Sharon Gaber is very effective as senior associate provost at Auburn," said Inza L. Fort, professor of kinesiology and chair of the University Faculty Senate. "She is regarded as a problem-solver, has great instincts and is an innovator. She has demonstrated excellent communication skills with students, faculty, and administration in a variety of projects. It looks like Auburn has lost a good one, and that is our gain at the University of Arkansas."

Gaber will be joined at the university by her husband, John, also an accomplished scholar in the area of community planning. Currently holder of an endowed professorship in community planning at Auburn, John Gaber has accepted an appointment as professor in the department of sociology, pending board approval.

John Gaber will work with Kevin Fitzpatrick, director of the Family and Community Institute, founded in 1994. He plans to conduct research on the homeless and work with the public policy doctoral program with an emphasis on community, in addition to outreach work with community service organizations at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale.

John Gaber holds a doctoral degree from Columbia University, a master's degree from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor's degree from the University of California-Los Angeles. An expert in community development, planning, public policy and research methods, he has published 49 articles — several co-authored by Sharon Gaber — and one book, and has been honored as "Teacher of the Year" at both Auburn University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Gabers have three children: Allison, 14; Jennifer, 12; and Peter, 10.

 

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