Provost leaving; to become provost at UNT-Dallas

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In a memo distributed to the campus community Dec. 7, Provost Betty Stewart announced her resignation effective this coming February.

James Johnston, college of health science and human services dean and professor, talks to the prospective students and guests about the benefits and options they have in the College of Health Science and Human Services, as a part of the last and biggest Discover MSU. Photo by Rachel Johnson

James Johnston, dean of the College of Health Science and Human Services, talks to the prospective students. Photo by Rachel Johnson

INTERIM PROVOST REACTION

UPDATED: Dec. 9, 1:22 p.m.

After receiving the news of Stewart’s resignation, James Johnston, dean of the Robert D. & Carol Gunn College of Health Sciences & Human Services said he was initially shocked by the news, but ultimately happy for Provost Betty Stewart.

“At this point, I think we’re all still a bit shocked. It’s certainly sad for us, as a university, but I’m thrilled for her to have been granted this kind of opportunity. We all are. She will be sorely missed.”

Johnston has been a faculty member at MSU since 2003, and has served as dean since 2013. These roles, he says, have prepared him for this position.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to, and I’m very excited to have been given the opportunity,” Johnston said. “When you work in an environment with as many supportive colleagues as I do, it really makes a transition like this easier. Dr. Shipley is a great leader, and with her support, I feel more than prepared.”

Johnston, who is also overseeing the construction of the new College of Health Sciences and Human Services building, says that taking on the role as provost certainly presents challenges, but nothing overwhelming.

“Typically, a provost shepherds projects such as new buildings, but Dr. Stewart gave me the opportunity to take it on, instead, which I was more than happy to take on,” Johnston said. “It’s going to be a new set of challenges set in front of me, but Midwestern is my home. I’ve loved every minute of working here and getting to serve this university. I’m committed to our mission and our growth as a university, and as long as we keep those in mind, we’ll continue the great work being done.”

PRESIDENT NAMES INTERIM PROVOST

UPDATED: Dec. 9, 10:46 a.m.

University President Suzanne Shipley named James Johnston, dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services, interim provost this morning.

Shipley sent the following email to the university community.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. James Johnston will serve as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs beginning February 1, 2017. Dr. Johnston will continue his involvement with the construction of the new facility for the Robert D. and Carol Gunn College of Health Sciences & Human Services. I’ve also asked Dr. Matthew Capps to serve as Director for Academic Hiring beginning February 1 to complete the hiring processes for all faculty and academic staff during the spring semester. Thank you to Deans Johnston and Capps for their assistance.

“A search advisory committee for a new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will be co-chaired by Dr. Susan Harvey, Chair of the Department of Music, and Dr. Kathy Williamson, Chair of Wilson School of Nursing. Deans who have agreed to serve on the committee are Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and Dr. Sam Watson, Dean of the Prothro-Yeager College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Clara Latham, University Librarian, will represent Moffett Library. Faculty members include Dr. Kym Acuna, Assistant Professor for Educational Leadership and Technology, and Dr. Ron Young, Assistant Professor for Accounting. Ms. Angie Reay, Associate Director for Residence Life, will represent the staff as will Mr. Tony Vidmar, vice president for university advancement and public affairs. Ms. Shayla Owens, SGA President, will serve as the student member. They will hold their first meeting in December in order to approve an advertisement for the position that will be submitted to various sources in January 2017. I wish the committee great success with their search.”

Samuel Sanchez, newly elected board of regents chair, listens to discussion during the Board of Regents meeting on Aug. 4. Sanchez will continue on the board until 2018. He is an attorney with Cordell & Cordell, and lives in Fort Worth. Photo by Dewey Cooper

Samuel Sanchez, newly elected board of regents chair, listens to discussion during the Board of Regents meeting on Aug. 4. Sanchez will continue on the board until 2018. He is an attorney with Cordell & Cordell, and lives in Fort Worth. Photo by Dewey Cooper

BOARD REACTION

“Betty has been phenomenal. It’s a loss for the university, but this is a fantastic opportunity for her. We have nothing but thanks and praise toward Dr. Stewart and we wish her the best,” Samuel Sanchez, Board of Regents chair, said.

Provost Betty Stewart

Provost Betty Stewart

REACTION FROM BETTY STEWART

UPDATED: Dec. 7, 2:45 p.m.

Stewart has lived in Wichita Falls since 2006, but her family stayed in Dallas. She explained that being away from her family is part of the reason that she took the job at UNT-Dallas.

“I hadn’t planned on leaving. I wasn’t looking for a new job,” Stewart said. “[UNT-Dallas] had been looking for a provost for awhile.”

The job posting came out in early fall, and Stewart applied at the end of October. Her last day at MSU is Feb. 1, 2017. 

“I have mixed emotions about my resignation,” Stewart said. “I’m going to miss the people, the relationships, the bonds, but I’m excited for the new opportunity.”

Suzanne Shipley, university president, said she and the rest of the faculty felt that Stewart’s resignation was bittersweet.

“We’re happy that she gets to go be with her family after being apart for so long, and everybody shares a hope for her future,” Shipley said. “But we are all really sad, and she will be missed.”

Shipley explained the impact Stewart has had on this campus with a smile on her face.

“Our goal as higher education professionals is to be a better leader than the one before us,” Shipley said. “We want to leave the position better than when we got there, and that’s exactly what Betty’s done.”

After five years here, Stewart put her hand over her heart when she discussed what MSU means to her.

“MSU will always hold a special place in my heart. I’ve had a great time here and I will miss it greatly,” Stewart said.

FACULTY REACTION

UPDATED: Dec. 7, 1:45 p.m.
  • “It saddens me. She was an instrumental part of my accepting the position here at Midwestern. It was my first time working in higher education and she explained the process so smoothly, but I understand her decision.” Kevin Clark, assistant radiology professor.
  • “I’m shocked. I think we all expected her to be around for a lot longer, and maybe eventually become the next president. But, I can definitely respect her decision. I think UNT  has been her ultimate goal. I’m not entirely sure, but it makes sense.” Lynette Watts, assistant radiology professor.
  • “She’s just so involved in everything on campus, and so down to earth. I think something like that is really hard to find in someone with that kind of position. I commend her, and she’s going to be deeply missed.” Jessyca Wagner, assistant radiology professor. 
  • “I’m just shocked and saddened. I think she was a great fit here, and I’m really going to miss her. I understand she’s going to be closer to family, so you can’t fault her. She’s amazing,  and I hope everything works out for her.” Vicki  Sanders, associate radiology professor.

FROM UNT-DALLAS

View press release from UNT-Dallas posted at 12:01 p.m.

FROM BETTY STEWART
Her memo sent Dec. 7 at 12:08 p.m.

PUBLISHED: Dec. 7, 12:21 p.m.

The past four years at Midwestern State University have been filled with many opportunities and challenges. During this time we successfully implemented the new core curriculum standards, added new academic programs, completed our SACSCOC accreditation process, and launched and sustained our quality enhancement plan through the creation of EURECA. Today, the university is well positioned to greet our centennial celebration with several transformative projects including the construction of a new health sciences facility and the completion of our strategic plan to serve as the bridge to the new century for Midwestern State. The future of Midwestern State University is indeed very bright.

It has been my pleasure these past four and a half years to walk beside you and help to guide you through these projects and processes. I have long considered Midwestern State my home and I have been privileged to work with all of you over my eight and a half years of service, which includes the four years I served as dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

Today, I write to inform you that I have accepted the position as Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs for the University of North Texas in Dallas beginning in February 2017. While this is an exciting career opportunity for me, this move will also allow me to be closer to my family. In the coming days, an interim provost will be selected internally and announced to serve from February until a national search is completed. The search will be guided by a campus search committee with appointed and elected membership, with advertisements expected to be placed publicly beginning in the new year. It is anticipated that interviews will occur in late March and early April with the intention of having a permanent provost in place before July 1, 2017.

Midwestern State University and the people who make this an exceptional university will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your provost, your mentor, your colleague, and your friend.

Related story from Sept. 11, 2012 — “Top administration no longer a ‘boy’s club

Betty Stewart

Betty Stewart, provost, introduces the guest speaker at Midwestern State University graduation, May 16, 2015 at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Betty Stewart, provost, introduces the guest speaker at Midwestern State University graduation, May 16, 2015 at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Photo by Rachel Johnson
at the Midwestern State University graduation, May 14, 2016. Photo by Topher McGehee
at the Midwestern State University graduation, May 14, 2016. Photo by Topher McGehee
Betty Stewart, provost and vise president for academic affairs, congratulates the graduates and their family at the Commencement Ceremony in Kay Yeager Coliseum Dec. 12, 2015. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Betty Stewart, provost and vise president for academic affairs, congratulates the graduates and their family at the Commencement Ceremony in Kay Yeager Coliseum Dec. 12, 2015. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Betty Stewart, vice president for acadmeic affairs and provost, gives the introductions at the Commencement Ceremony for August and Dececember graduates held in the Kay Yeager Coliseum, Dec. 12, where 440 graduates crossed the stage. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Betty Stewart, vice president for acadmeic affairs and provost, gives the introductions at the Commencement Ceremony for August and Dececember graduates held in the Kay Yeager Coliseum, Dec. 12, where 440 graduates crossed the stage. Photo by Rachel Johnson

 

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