ne of the best strategies leaders can employ is to surround themselves with strong leaders. It’s in that spirit that I’m proud to introduce the latest additions to UT Arlington’s leadership team.
Donald Bobbitt, our new provost and vice president for academic affairs, joins us July 1 from the University of Arkansas, where he had been dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences (see story: 'Bobbitt named provost'). Under his direction, the 7,000-student college nearly doubled its external funding and vastly increased its endowed chairs and professorships through dynamic fundraising initiatives.
Dr. Bobbitt, who holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, is an energetic and outgoing leader, a gifted academician and someone whose experiences and abilities have enabled him to work his way through the ranks of higher education. He has more than 20 years of teaching and research service at the University of Arkansas, where he was an assistant professor, associate professor, department vice chairman, department chairman, associate dean, interim dean and dean. He has also been a corporate adviser and consultant.
Dr. Bobbitt succeeds Ron Elsenbaumer, who has served as interim provost since September 2007, following Dana Dunn’s return to teaching and research in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. I deeply appreciate Dr. Elsenbaumer for his outstanding service in that role, and I’m pleased that he will remain a vital part of our leadership team. He returns to his previous post as vice president for research but with the new responsibility of overseeing our federal relations efforts. Ron’s extensive experience as a professor, researcher, vice president and interim provost make him ideally suited for this expanded leadership position.
I also want to acknowledge Kelsey Downum, who did an exemplary job as interim vice president for research over the last 18 months and who returns to the position of senior associate vice president for research. Dr. Downum remains an important part of the team.
I’m also excited about Jim Lewis, our new vice president for development, who began in May (see story: 'Lewis named VP for development'). He is an exceptional leader, highly respected in the development field, and we’re delighted he’s with us. Jim has great experience—he joins us from Austin College, where he led impressive fundraising efforts—and high energy, and I expect to see significant growth in UT Arlington’s development activity over the next several years.
Jim inherits a Development Office that’s stronger than ever, thanks in part to the leadership of Angela Crowly. For the last year, Dr. Crowly has served as the University’s interim vice president for development, and I’m pleased that she will continue as our assistant vice president for development.
At the end of the spring semester, we also bade farewell to two of our deans. Richard Cole, who was dean of the School of Urban and Public Affairs and formerly interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and acting dean of the School of Social Work, has returned to the faculty. Robert McMahon, our Honors College dean and a biology professor, has retired. We expect to name the new SUPA dean later this summer.
Victoria Farrar-Myers, an exemplary faculty member in the Department of Political Science since 1998, has been named the new Honors College dean (see story: 'Honors College dean named'). Dr. Farrar-Myers has served UT Arlington in a number of important ways for the last 10 years, including as coordinator of our Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccreditation visit last year.
These new leaders join a team that includes two other vice presidents hired within the last year: Jerry Lewis, vice president for university communications, who joined UT Arlington from the University of Miami (Fla.), and Jean Hood, vice president for human resources, who came to us from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
Together, our vice presidents and deans form an outstanding team of advocates for your alma mater. It is my privilege to serve with them as we take UT Arlington to even greater heights.
— James D. Spaniolo
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