University of the Ozarks President Richard Dunsworth announced today the appointment of Dr. Alyson A. Gill as the University’s new provost.
Currently the associate provost for instructional innovation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Gill will begin her new duties at U of O on Feb. 1. As the chief academic officer at Ozarks, Gill will oversee all academic functions of the University, including the four divisions, the Jones Learning Center, and Student Support Services. She will also provide senior leadership in the areas of accreditation and assessment.
“Dr. Gill embraces the mission and core values of University of the Ozarks,” said Dunsworth. “She is a thoughtful, energetic and personable administrator who has demonstrated an ability to work collaboratively with students, faculty and staff to achieve goals. Her experience as a faculty member and administrator, her proven leadership in the areas of technology and innovation, and her natural curiosity make her the ideal candidate for the position of chief academic officer.”
Gill also is an associate professor of art history at UMass Amherst. She previously served 15 years as an instructor and professor of art history at Arkansas State University, earning tenure before leaving in 2015 to accept the position to lead instructional innovation at UM Amherst.
“From the moment that I first stepped foot onto the University of the Ozarks campus, I felt the spirit of this place and felt welcomed and at home,” Gill said. “As an art historian I often find myself in the role of storyteller—engaging through stories and bringing the past to life through words or interactive models. When I was on campus, I felt as if the story were instead being told to me, and in those narrative strands from students, faculty, staff, and community members, I not only saw a deep commitment and love of place, but I also felt a greater joining of my intellectual, leadership, and spiritual lives.”
At Arkansas State University, Gill served as the founding director for the Center for Digital Initiatives. At UMass Amherst, she led a staff of 30-40 providing innovative tools for faculty to use in their courses to support their pedagogies.
The six-month, nationwide search drew 76 applicants, according to Dr. Steve Oatis, dean of the Division of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication and chair of the search committee. The committee narrowed the pool of candidates to eight for video interviews and three finalists were chosen for on-campus interviews.
“Dr. Gill is an innovative thinker who is well experienced in educational assessment and instructional technology, two areas that will be particularly important to our campus as we continue to grow in the coming years,” Oatis said. “The search committee also was very impressed by her enthusiasm, her communication skills, and her readiness and ability to understand many of the challenges and opportunities that are unique to Ozarks.”
Gill joins Ozarks during a time of record growth and amid one of the most ambitious capital campaigns in its history. The University hit an all-time enrollment high of 755 students during the Fall 2017 Semester and is in the third year of a five-year, $55 million campaign to enhance student scholarships and improve science and athletic facilities.
“This is an incredibly exciting time to be at Ozarks and I am thrilled to be part of this place and the leadership team,” Gill said. “I see opportunities to not only build on the campus vision set forth through the strategic planning process and master plan, but to work collaboratively across campus to hone and build on that vision. I am looking forward to exploring new ways together to further engage our students through student-centered learning and a personalized educational experience, to create collaborative learning spaces, to help faculty realize their goals as teachers and scholars, and to celebrate the unique place that is University of the Ozarks.”
Gill earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She earned a master’s degree in art history from University of California-Irvine and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Memphis. She is currently working on an MBA at UMass Amherst. Her husband, Dr. Eric Cave, is a professor of philosophy at Arkansas State University.
She replaces Dr. Travis Feezell, who left Ozarks in 2017 to accept the presidency at Hastings College in Nebraska.