Three Finalists Selected for UALR Provost

Chancellor Joel E. Anderson announced the names of the final candidates for the position of provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at UALR.

The finalists were selected from a search the university conducted with the assistance of a national academic search firm. They will visit the UALR campus during the latter part of October. A schedule of their visits will be announced soon.

The UALR provost leads six colleges and two free-standing schools: Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Business; Education; Professional Studies, including the School of Mass Communication and the School of Social Work; Engineering and Information Technology; and Science. The two free-standing schools are the Graduate School and the Bowen School of Law.

The finalists are as follows:

Jerry Herron, Ph.D
Founding dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College at Wayne State University

As dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College, Herron serves as the chief academic and fiscal officer at the honors college, one of 13 schools and colleges at Wayne State. He is responsible for an annual budget of $1.47 million and for fundraising for the college. He also has developed and directs the top recruitment event for undergraduate students, an event that brings approximately 1,200 top academic prospects for visits, interviews, and tours.

He is a professor of English with a B.A. degree in English with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University.

He created a Community of Scholars program at WSU, a learning community for merit-based scholarship students not invited to the honors program. His previous administrative positions at WSU include director of the honors program; interim assistant provost; associate chair of the English Department; and director of the American Studies Program. He also has served on committees on retention, student success, strategic planning, enrollment operations, and enrollment management.

Laurence B. Alexander, Ph.D., J.D.
Associate dean of the graduate school at the University of Florida

Alexander has served more than two decades as a faculty member and administrator at one of the largest research universities in the United States, the University of Florida. Responsible for leading all aspects of graduate education for 11,800 graduate students in 200 graduate programs across 16 colleges, Alexander manages the distribution of $4 million in annual non-salaried funds for student support and provides direct supervision of 16 employees. He is also director of the Office of Graduate Minority Programs.

He earned a B.A. degree in drama and communications at the University of New Orleans, an M.A. in journalism and communications at the University of Florida with a specialization in newspaper reporting, and a J.D. from Tulane Law School concentrating on communications law, the First Amendment, and media counseling. He earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Florida State University.

His previous experience includes assistant professorships in journalism at UNO, Temple University, and UF. He also served as a provost administrative fellow for the UF Office of Academic Affairs; chair of the Department of Journalism at UF; director of the News-Editorial sequence at Temple University; and coordinator of journalism at UNO.

Zulma R. Toro-Ramos
Dean of the College of Engineering at Wichita State University

Toro concurrently serves as director of the Center for Innovation and Enterprise Engagement and dean of the College of Engineering at Wichita State. As center director, she provides strategic direction for the organization charged with strengthening and developing local manufacturing innovation to escalate the development of the south central Kansas advanced manufacturing cluster in the global economy. As dean, she provides leadership for 54 full-time faculty members and more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

Toro has a B.S. degree in industrial engineering from the University of Puerto Rico; an M.S. degree in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan; and a Computer Integrated Manufacturing Systems graduate certificate and a Ph.D. in industrial and systems engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Her previous experience has included service as dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of New Haven in Connecticut; and chancellor, acting dean of the College of Engineering, and director of Graduate Studies and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

The search firm has announced that a fourth finalist, Kevin Z. Truman, dean of the School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, has withdrawn.

Former UALR Provost David O. Belcher left the university in July 2011 to become the new chancellor of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. Dr. Sandra L. Robertson, UALR director of Budget, Planning, and Institutional Research, is currently serving as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. She previously served as interim provost in 2003.

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