June 24, 2024

Announcement about Interim Provost Search

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Timothy O’Donnell accepted the offer to serve as UMW’s Interim Provost beginning July 1, 2021. Tim, Professor of Communication, has served as UMW’s Associate Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Success since 2014. Before that he served as the University Reaffirmation of Accreditation Director (2010-2013), Director of Debate (1999-2013), and Interim Director of the Speaking Intensive Program (2001-2002). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and B.A. and M.A. from Wake Forest University.

After Dr. Nina Mikhalevsky announced her intention to retire at the end of this academic year, I consulted with the University Faculty Council, academic department chairs, members of the Academic Affairs Council, University Staff Council (formerly the Staff Advisory Council), and Cabinet to seek feedback on identifying the next provost. I appreciate the wide-ranging input of these leaders as they offered their perspectives on the optimal course of action during the extraordinary demands of a global pandemic and decennial re-accreditation process. One consistent point that emerged was the need to select a principled leader who knows and values UMW deeply and is already immersed in managing the University’s response to COVID-19, as well as guiding it through a seamless SACSCOC re-accreditation process over the next two years.

It became clear that Dr. O’Donnell is the ideal internal candidate to serve as UMW’s Interim Chief Academic Officer. He has an impressive record of administrative success that demonstrates his commitment to diversity, inclusion, student success, faculty advocacy, staff support, and cross divisional cooperation and collaboration. He has served as the university’s co-COVID-19 director alongside Dr. Jeff McClurken, and he helped lead UMW’s last SACSCOC re-accreditation process. I am grateful that he is willing to help lead UMW through this critical time.

I would like to thank the dedicated search committee that helped conduct this internal search:

Angela Pitts, Chair and Professor of Classics
Justin Wilkes, Director, Student Transition Program
Robert Rycroft, Professor of Economics
Jennifer Barry, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Courtney Clayton, Associate Professor & Associate Dean, College of Education
Andrew Dolby, Professor of Biology & Chair of the University Faculty Council
Charles Tate, Director, Transfer Advising
Kimberley Gower, Assistant Professor of Business Management
Marcel Rotter, Associate Professor of German & Chair of Modern Languages & Literatures

The committee not only did an excellent job of offering advice, feedback, and guidance, they provided the valuable service of seeking input from the broader UMW community. They provided recommendations to enhance collegiality, trust, and communications across the three-college system, academic and non-academic divisions, and leadership structures. Dr. O’Donnell and I look forward to addressing and engaging the entire UMW community on these opportunities for improvement in the months to come.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. O’Donnell and thanking him for his willingness to take on this arduous, essential role.