Dr. Alan Utter has accepted an offer to become the next Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Arkansas State University, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said.
Utter is the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas. Utter previously was the vice provost for research at Appalachian State University. While there, he was the founding director of the university office of student research and had a lengthy tenure as a professor in the department of health and education.
“I am pleased that Professor Utter has accepted our offer and will be joining us soon in Jonesboro,” Damphousse said. “As our Provost, he will serve as A-State’s chief academic officer, the university’s second-ranking officer with responsibilities that cover the entire institution. He will report to the chancellor, serve on the chancellor’s leadership team, and take a leadership role over the academic enterprise, student success, curriculum and faculty development, research support, accreditation oversight, and carrying out our developing strategic plan. It’s a big job, so I am glad that we have someone with Alan’s experience to move us forward.”
Utter’s appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas State University System, which is anticipated to happen at the next regularly scheduled board meeting in June. He will assume his new role at A-State starting July 1, 2019. Utter is ready to start a new chapter at ASU.
“I want to express my thanks to the selection committee and to Dr. Damphousse for the offer and their confidence in extending the opportunity to join Arkansas State University,” Utter said. “From all accounts, whether it is an elevation of research and creative endeavors, advancing concepts of globalization and international education and a commitment to innovation, Arkansas State is on a positive trajectory under the leadership of Chancellor Damphousse.”
With research and professional associations in the sports medicine field, Utter has led National Institute of Health grant-funded research as well holding a patent. He co-invented a body weight and nutrition monitoring system. He holds both his doctorate in exercise physiology and a master’s in public health from the University of Pittsburgh.
“Throughout Alan’s career, he has put great emphasis on student experiences through research and finding ways to support faculty members in their research pursuits,” Damphousse said. “Given that undergraduate student research opportunities are a hallmark of A-State’s distinctiveness, Alan’s background made him an outstanding candidate. He has a tremendous background in administration for academic affairs at his previous universities, but it is grounded in his own personal commitment to his research areas.”
Faculty Association President Dr. Loretta McGregor expressed her confidence in Utter’s appointment and the leadership style he will bring to the campus.
“On behalf of the A-State faculty, I am excited about the hiring of Dr. Utter,” McGregor said. “I look forward to working with him.”
While at Texas Woman’s, Utter served as the chief academic officer over six college units and three campus locations, the main TWU campus in Denton plus additional campuses in Dallas and Houston. In his role as provost, he guided the selection of a founding dean for the newly established College of Business at TWU. He initiated several administrative advances for academic affairs that he had pioneered previously at App State in assisting TWU President Carine M. Feyten.
He began his teaching career at Appalachian State in 1995 as an assistant professor, promoted to associate in 2001 and full professor in 2004. From 1996 to 2002, he was the director of graduate programs within the App State Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science.
As the founding director for the Office of Student Research (OSR) at Appalachian State, he created advisory boards and committees that led to OSR funding more than 400 student research and travel grants a year leading to a significant increase in student participation in undergraduate research. App State led the 16-member University of North Carolina system with the highest overall participation in the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. OSR’s budget grew from $30,000 to $200,000 through his efforts to locate and secure funding for student research.
“While Arkansas State has a similar program in Create@State, I am committed to fostering and expanding these type of passionate commitments to student and faculty research interaction in the learning environment that combines discovery, knowledge creation, and applied scholarship at Arkansas State,” Utter said. “I am excited to work with the faculty and staff in continuing to provide and support high quality, ‘hands-on’ educational experiences for our students at A-State.”
From his bachelor’s in exercise science in 1989, Utter first completed his master of science in exercise physiology in 1991 followed by a master of public health with an emphasis in epidemiology in 1995. Utter completed his Ph.D. in exercise physiology with a minor emphasis in research methodology from Pitt also in 1995.
Utter succeeds A-State Provost Dr. Lynita Cooksey who is retiring at the close of this fiscal year.
“I am so thankful for Lynita’s service to A-State, especially these last seven years as our Provost,” Damphousse said. “During challenging times, she led her alma mater faithfully, and we are a better university because of her hard work.”