UMSL taps Wright State University dean as its next provost

Kristin Sobolik

Kristin Sobolik’s wide-ranging experience and success as an administrator stood out during the national search process.

Kristin Sobolik, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, will become provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Missouri–St. Louis June 1. The award-winning scholar and administrator was chosen among numerous top-quality candidates gleaned from a national search.

“Kristin Sobolik just stood out as the person to lead our academic and research programs,” UMSL Chancellor Tom George said. “She has been an outstanding administrator both at Wright State University and the University of Maine.

“She has great experience across a wide range of activities that are essential to being a successful provost, including strategic planning, reaccreditation, budgeting, student success, capital projects, fundraising and faculty development,” he said. “I was particularly struck by her successes in diversity and inclusion – areas in which UMSL currently thrives but can continue to grow with Dr. Sobolik’s leadership.”

Sobolik has been dean and professor of anthropology at Wright State since 2013 – where she oversees a college with 11 departments, one school, two institutes, one center and eight interdisciplinary programs.

Prior to Wright State, Sobolik began her academic career at the University of Maine as an assistant professor. She became a full professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology in 2006 and an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2011.

At UMSL, Sobolik will guide academic affairs, student affairs and research administration of the largest public research university in the state’s most populous and economically important region. Founded in 1963, UMSL has more than 17,000 students, 10 schools and colleges, 94 degree programs and an annual operating budget of nearly $210 million.

Several programs have attained national recognition for their quality, including biology, criminology, education, information systems, international business, nursing, optometry, psychology, public policy and tropical ecology. Additionally, UMSL has invested about $150 million over the past three years in new capital construction, renovation and landscaping on campus.

“The University of Missouri–St. Louis has some of the nation’s leading scholars who are truly committed to education, research and serving a diverse, vibrant community,” Sobolik said. “I am excited by the opportunity to engage with faculty, staff and students to help harness and focus campus resources to ensure our continued growth trajectory and excellence in these vitally important areas.”

Sobolik received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Iowa and master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from Texas A&M University. She replaces Glen Cope, who retired as provost in June 2016. Chris Spilling, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for research, has been serving as interim provost and will continue in that capacity until June 1.

Media coverage:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Public Radio

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