DeKALB – Northern Illinois University finally has a new provost and executive vice president, according to a news release from the university.
President Lisa Freeman said Beth Fisher Ingram takes on the roles starting May 16. Christopher McCord has filled them in an acting role since July 2017.
“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Ingram,” Freeman said in the release. “She is an accomplished academic and administrator with a wealth of experience at top-flight public research universities. She not only understands the challenges facing public higher education but also has a demonstrated ability to find solutions that respect the mission, vision and values of institutions like ours.”
Ingram is coming off four years as provost and vice president for academic affairs at North Dakota State University where, according to the release, she helped launch a new strategic plan.
Among her innovations in student support were an early alert and advising system, and the development of curriculum maps and four-year plans – resulting in a boost in graduation rates from 26 percent to 37 percent over four years, according to the release.
Before her time at NDSU, Ingram spent 26 years in various roles at the University of Iowa, including associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of the University College.
She completed her Ph.D at the University of Minnesota in 1986 and returned to Iowa, where she’d done her undergraduate work.
So, why NIU at this juncture of her career?
“NIU clearly embraces the mission of a public university, demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity, access and affordability,” Ingram said in the release.
She acknowledged the university’s struggles, including a 27 percent decline in both enrollment and employment at the university since 2008.
“Everyone I met was so enthusiastic about being at NIU,” Fisher said in the release. “Given all of the challenges the university has faced in recent years, that is impressive. I get a sense that people on campus want to move forward, and want to turn the corner. They want to start thinking about building again.”
McCord was named to the acting roles when Freeman was named interim president in June 2017 in the wake of Doug Baker’s unceremonious departure.
According to the release from NIU, after McCord helps with the transition, he’ll take a professional development leave.