UNC Asheville has appointed Garikai Campbell, Ph.D., to be the University’s next provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, starting late June 2019. Campbell currently serves as provost and dean of Knox College and brings more than 20 years of experience across every facet of academic life, from executive leadership, teaching and research, to extensive consulting work in technology, math and diversity in higher education.
“Dr. Campbell is a scholar, innovator and passionate champion of liberal arts and sciences education,” said Chancellor Nancy J. Cable. “As role model to our students and faculty, he will inspire excellence in pedagogy, student learning, undergraduate research, scholarship, diversity, and academic programs across our campus. His expertise in the classroom, in shared governance, and in increasing support for higher education will extend and enhance our efforts and elevate our work to provide transformational education and leadership.”
As UNC Asheville’s chief academic officer, Campbell will lead, together with the chancellor and faculty, more than 30 degree programs serving more than 3,800 students. The provost is responsible for the strategic vision, direction and effectiveness of the university’s academic programs and its more than 220 full-time faculty. Campbell was selected for the position following a nationwide search that included 145 applicants and nominations.
“I am quite excited to be joining an institution whose values align with my own and an institution unique in the UNC System. UNC Asheville’s faculty, staff, students, leadership, and board all seem poised to amplify the university’s excellence, and I look forward to engaging in that work,” said Campbell. “I am incredibly thankful for my time at Knox College, an extraordinary community whose commitments to access, diversity and active learning in the liberal arts tradition are in fact shared by UNC Asheville and commitments I have been proud to support at Knox.”
As provost and dean of the College at Knox, Campbell led all aspects of the academic programs, including oversight of the curriculum and leadership of the faculty, as well as provided oversight to numerous college programs and departments directly related to the educational experiences of students.
Prior to his time at Knox, Campbell served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Morehouse College, again responsible for the academic program in its entirety. He facilitated the first change to the general education program in nearly three decades, enhanced the culture of shared governance, and increased opportunities for faculty research and pedagogical innovation. He also led efforts to secure resources for academic programs and broader institutional needs, including a $2.5 million gift to support STEM programs; a $1.2 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and evaluate innovative student success initiatives; and a $1.25 million Lilly Endowment grant to strengthen career pathways for students through improved curricular and co-curricular programming, structured internship opportunities, and enhanced academic advising and student success initiatives.
Campbell received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Swarthmore College, where he was a Mellon Foundation Mays Undergraduate Fellow and an Academic All-American wrestler. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from Rutgers University. He returned to Swarthmore as a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, followed by an appointment to the faculty. While at Swarthmore, Campbell held several leadership positions, including associate dean for academic affairs, acting dean of students, and associate vice president for strategic planning and special assistant to the president.
In 2018, Campbell was named a “Something in Residence” of the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he served as a thought partner on topics at the intersection of technology, identity and higher education. He has been awarded an Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Aspen Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, and NSF Minority Graduate Fellowship, and as an associate professor of mathematics at Swarthmore College, he earned the Henry Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching from the Mathematical Association of America.
He is also recognized for his innovative work to shape programs designed to engage students underrepresented in STEM disciplines, including work with the Professional Development Program at the University of California, Berkeley, the EDGE program for women, and programs at Drexel, Caltech and other institutions. Early in his academic career, he worked with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) to help pioneer a program to identify and support potential engineers underrepresented in the discipline.
“Dr. Campbell is an extraordinarily talented, inspirational leader. We’re thrilled that he will be joining us as our next provost,” said Dr. Rick Chess, UNC Asheville’s Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts and Sciences, director of the Center for Jewish Studies, and Provost Search Committee co-chair. “We look forward to welcoming him to UNC Asheville and to working together with him and Chancellor Cable as UNC Asheville continues to create transformative educational experiences for our students, preparing them to take their places as leaders throughout our region, state, nation, and world.”
Campbell succeeds Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Karin Peterson, who has served in the role since January 2018. Peterson will serve as interim executive vice chancellor and provost at UNC School of the Arts for the 2019-20 academic year.