Wright State names Oliver Evans interim provost


FAIRBORN — Oliver H. Evans, who has more than 30 years of administrative experience in higher education, has agreed to serve as interim provost of Wright State University, effective Feb. 22.

He will replace interim Provost Douglas Leaman, who will leave Wright State effective Feb. 21 to serve as dean of the College of Sciences at Auburn University at Montgomery.

Given the short timeframe, coupled with the current workload within the Office of Provost, President Sue Edwards said she felt it was necessary to utilize the Registry for College and University Presidents to find an individual with extensive experience as a provost, and in this case, a president, to assist the university in the interim period.

Evans has many years of experience leading institutions through challenging circumstances, including major organizational changes, faculty and staff reductions, academic reorganizations, and the revision and development of programs that successfully addressed enrollment issues.

“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.

He will work closely with Edwards and other Wright State leaders as the university implements the academic retrenchment plan, launch the health college, and move forward on a number of other institutional initiatives.

As interim provost, Evans said he will communicate effectively and regularly, support proactively the work of the college deans, seek opportunities to develop realistic programmatic and other initiatives that support the university’s mission, and establish a foundation upon which the permanent provost can build.

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.

Prior to joining Kendall College of Art and Design, he served as executive director of the Community Dispute Resolution Center of Kalamazoo County in Michigan. During his tenure at Nazareth College in Kalamazoo, he served as president, vice president for academic affairs, director of advising and graduate studies, and professor of English.

His other faculty experience includes appointments in the Department of Business Information Systems at Western Michigan University and in the Departments of English at Creighton University, South Dakota State University and Dakota State College.

Evans received his Ph.D. and master’s degree, both in English, from Purdue University and his bachelor’s degree in English from Albion College.

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

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