CLARKSVILLE, Ark. ---University of the Ozarks has named Dr. Elizabeth Gomez as interim vice president for academic affairs, effective July 1.
Gomez, who has served as chairman of U of O’s Sciences and Mathematics Division since 1997, replaces Dr. Caroline Whitson, who is leaving to take over the presidency at Columbia College in Columbia, S.C. ? "Although it is difficult to have Dr. Whitson leave our campus, my discomfort is made easier by the appointment of Dr. Elizabeth Gomez as interim vice president for academic affairs," Ozarks President Dr. Rick Niece said. "Dr. Gomez has agreed to assume the academic responsibilities while we conduct a nationwide search. She is also eligible to be a candidate for the position if she decides to apply." Gomez received her undergraduate degree from Ouachita Baptist University before earning her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University. She was hired as an assistant professor of chemistry at U of O in 1988 and was promoted to full professor in 1995. "Dr. Whitson’s departure from Ozarks leaves a wide gap on campus. I’m honored to have been asked to step into that gap," Gomez said. "I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with Ozarks’ students, faculty and administration in a new capacity. I’m looking forward to serving the entire campus during the coming year." Niece praised Gomez for her work as chair of the Sciences and Mathematics Division as well as her efforts in the university’s North Central Accreditation review process. "Dr. Gomez brings a multitude of experiences, skills and positive achievements to her role as interim vice president," Niece said. " I admire her analytic and organizational expertise as well as her ability to make difficult decisions." In a related move, the university announced that Dr. Todd Watson, assistant professor of chemistry, would serve as interim chair of the Sciences and Mathematics Division.