Vela to lead provost search

Mark Locklear

Richard Vela

PEMBROKE — A search committee at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has been formed to find a replacement for Provost Zoe Locklear, who is retiring.

Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings presented the 15-member committee to the board of trustees on Friday.

Locklear, who also serves as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, will retire effective June 30, 2017.

Richard Vela, a long-time English professor, will serve as committee chairman. He brings more than four decades as a professor in the English, Theatre & Foreign Language Department.

“I am grateful Dr. Vela agreed to serve in this important role,” Cummings said. “Having dedicated his distinguished career to teaching, scholarship and service at UNC Pembroke, Dr. Vela brings a wealth of valuable experiences and perspectives.”

Vela has taught English since 1971 and has served in many key leadership roles, including the 2015 Chancellor Search Committee, the 2015 Dean of Arts and Sciences Search Committee, the 125th Anniversary Committee in 2012 and chair of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee.

He served as the university’s first director of Advisement and Retention in 1980s. Vela has received numerous awards, including the UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, Adolph Dial Faculty Award for Scholarship and Creativity and the university’s Outstanding Teacher Award.

“This is not so much about me,” said Vela, who holds a doctorate from the University of North Carolina. “This is a real important decision in the history of this university. The provost serves as the leader of our academic programs and ensures instructional excellence.”

The committee also includes: Cherry Beasley, Anne Belk Endowed Professor, Nursing, UNCP Foundation Board member; Kelli Blue, chair, UNCP board of trustees; Nancy Crouch, associate vice chancellor for Technology; Val Ford, professor, School of Education, member of 2015 Chancellor Search Committee; Logan John, UNCP student body president; Dan Kenney, chief of staff; Rudy Locklear, immediate past president, UNCP Alumni Association, UNCP adjunct faculty member; Dr. Mary Ann Masters, optometrist; Dale McInnis, president, Richmond Community College; Conner Sandefur, assistant professor, Biology; Joe Sciulli, associate professor, School of Education, UNCP Faculty Senate member; Frederick Stephens, assistant professor, Social Work; Dennis Swanson, dean, Mary Livermore Library; Stewart Thomas, associate dean, School of Business; and Sara Simmons, who serves as Faculty Senate Chair.

“I told the chancellor that I thought this was a very strong group of faculty members,” Simmons said. “Overall, I am pleased with the list of people who have been selected, including those representing various constituency groups of the university.”

The role of provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs is as senior leader over Enrollment, Financial Aid, the College of Arts and Sciences, Institutional Research, the School of Education, the School of Business, the Graduate School, the School of Education, Mary Livermore Library, the Office of Sponsored Research and Programs, Engaged Outreach, and the Esther G. Maynor Honors College.

A Pembroke native and UNCP graduate, Locklear joined the UNCP faculty in 1988. She was the founding dean of the School of Education. She left the university to become associate superintendent for the Public Schools of Robeson County and in 2002 was named associate superintendent of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

She returned in 2004 to teach and direct the Master of School Administration program. In 2005, she was named dean of the School of Education and in 2012. Locklear was promoted to provost in 2015.

Richard Vela Vela

Mark Locklear

Mark Locklear is a public communications specialist for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Mark Locklear is a public communications specialist for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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