Wright State names new interim provost

Wright State University has agreed to hire Oliver Evans to serve as its interim provost until the school replaces the position.

Douglas Leaman, who has served as the interim provost since December 2019, will leave Wright State on Feb. 21 for a new job as the dean of the College of Sciences at Auburn University at Montgomery.

Evans has more than 30 years of administrative experience in higher education, including through major organizational changes, faculty and staff reductions, academic reorganizations and issues with enrollment, Wright State said in a press release.

“Wright State University’s potential to emerge from its current situation as a stronger institution attracts me to the opportunity to serve as Wright State’s interim provost,” Evans said in the release.

Since he retired from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University in 2012, Evans has served in interim leadership positions at several universities, including interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana Institute of Technology; interim provost of Mary Baldwin University; interim president of Kendall College of Art and Design; and interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Upper Iowa University.

Evans spent 18 years of his career at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as president and vice chancellor, vice president for academic affairs/dean and professor of humanities. He also served as president of the college’s Kendall Foundation.

Wright State said it plans to begin a formal search for a permanent provost in the fall of 2021.

Wright State has had ongoing issues with its finances and declining enrollment. Last November, the university announced they would begin laying the groundwork to reduce its faculty workforce.

It is not currently known how many people may be laid off in that reduction.

New position

Wright State will also have its first vice president for inclusive excellence beginning on June 1. Matthew Chaney of Ferris State was named to the position.

The university said Chaney will work with the admissions office, human resources and the Provost’s Office on recruitment and retention of underrepresented students, faculty and staff. He will also work on Wright State’s commitment to a more diverse and inclusive community, Wright State said.

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