UALR Chancellor Joel E. Anderson announced today that David O. Belcher, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UALR, has accepted the position of chancellor at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.
Belcher’s appointment, effective July 1, was announced this morning at the University of North Carolina Board of Governors meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C. Belcher, 53, will assume his new duties July 1, succeeding John W. Bardo, who is stepping down after 16 years in the post.
Chancellor Anderson said he will appoint an interim provost in the next few weeks to succeed Belcher until a search can begin to fill the position.
“During David Belcher’s service as provost, his contributions to the campus have been outstanding,” said Chancellor Anderson. “He is a trusted colleague, and I enjoy working with him very much. Although I regret his leaving UALR, I knew that sooner rather than later he would become a campus chancellor or president. I wish David and Susan all the best.”
Belcher, who joined UALR in 2003, came to the university after serving as dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University, where he began his academic career in 1988.
Under Belcher’s leadership, the university launched seven new doctoral degree programs, created an Office of Innovation and Commercialization to capitalize on faculty research and promote economic development, implemented initiatives to improve student retention and graduation rates, and begun a thorough review of the undergraduate curriculum. A concert pianist himself, Belcher has been a presence and a leader in the metropolitan arts community.
“This is a bittersweet announcement, for Susan and I have loved our time and experiences at UALR and in Little Rock even as we are excited about our future at WCU. We know that UALR is poised for a remarkable future and will miss being a part of it.”
The provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs is UALR’s chief academic officer responsible for overseeing academic programs for UALR’s six colleges and the William H. Bowen School of Law. The position also provides leadership for the Offices of Research and Graduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialization, and Extended Programs; Ottenheimer Library; student recruitment; the UALR Nanotechnology Center; the Sequoyah National Research Center; the Arkansas Studies Institute; and the Donaghey Scholars Program.
In addition to his work on campus, Belcher is well recognized in the central Arkansas community for his service on the boards of directors of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and as past chair of the Little Rock Arts and Culture Commission.
He is married to Susan Belcher, who teaches voice at UALR.