Provost Coleman Announces Plans, Action Steps in Message to Campus
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Jim Coleman marked the start of the fall 2017 semester with an email message to faculty members, summarizing the past eight months’ achievements at the U of A, highlighting changes in the provost’s office and giving a “big picture” look ahead for the current academic year.
He began with a personal summary of his experience since becoming provost.
“I have found the University of Arkansas to be an intellectually, creatively and culturally vibrant university characterized by exceptional commitment to our students,” he wrote. “I love being here and I am reminded every day of the best of higher education.”
Among the recent achievements, the provost noted that the U of A earned re-accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission; achieved another year of record enrollment with that growth stabilizing; and launched an academic strategic plan to implement the university’s eight guiding priorities, providing a roadmap for the future of the institution.
In his message Coleman announced several organizational changes in the provost’s office, all connected to action steps within the strategic plan.
A prime example concerns the top guiding priority, advancing student success, which Coleman said will emphasize working to achieve success “one student at a time.” Toward this goal, the Office of Graduation and Retention has been moved into the Provost’s Office and renamed the Office of Student Success. Associate Vice Provost Trevor Francis, as director of student success, will work to develop and implement an integrated student success plan aimed at increasing the retention, on-time graduation and post-graduation success of U of A students, working closely with Student Affairs, Schools and Colleges and Enrollment Management. The university will also develop a student success center, first at a satellite location this year, while planning for a future facility. In addition, Francis, working with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Robinson and his team, will implement and test a pilot program, “Arkansas STEP (Student Talent Enrichment Program) to Success,” aimed at increasing the persistence of Arkansans from the freshman to the sophomore year. These are all key actions in the strategic plan to advance student success, the U of A’s top priority, Coleman explained.
Coleman also announced that Yvette Murphy-Erby, professor of social work, has accepted an offer to take on the new role of vice provost for diversity and inclusion. This is the first action step toward the goal to foster and grow the culture of inclusion and diversity on campus.
To increase support for faculty excellence, another guiding priority, Coleman said that Ro Di Brezzo, vice provost for faculty development and enhancement, will have a broader role now, facilitating all aspects of faculty affairs, including policies, faculty human resources and faculty development.
In addition, Terry Martin’s title has been changed to senior vice provost for academic affairs, indicating his role as second-in-command in managing the academic enterprise of the university.
Coleman also promised faculty that they will be hearing much more in coming weeks about the ways the university will “plan the work, and work the plan,” particularly the ways that are being developed to measure the success of each action towards meeting the goals of the strategic plan.
Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
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