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UMW names new associate provost

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Communications professor Tim O’Donnell, who led the University of Mary Washington’s debate team to national prominence, has a new title: associate provost for academic engagement and student success.

O’Donnell’s new position puts him in charge of all student service departments on campus. He said his goal is “building a really well-structured set of experiences from recruitment through graduation and beyond.”

The position was formerly known as the associate provost for enrollment management and student support and was held by Fred Pierce.

Provost Jonathan Levin said the revived position, “addresses the whole student in a holistic way.” He said O’Donnell’s track record at UMW, which includes coaching the debate team and leading its quality-enhancement program for the past three years, shows a consistent effort to engage students.

In the latter role, O’Donnell expanded the school’s first-year experience program. He said he wants to extend it further.

“What should sophomore, junior, senior experiences look like?” he said. “And how do we transition students successfully out of the university?”

O’Donnell came to UMW in 1999 as an assistant professor of communication and director of debate. He led the debate team to several national championships and dozens of top-10 finishes and served as chairman of the National Debate Tournament from 2006–2012.

As associate provost for academic engagement and student success, he will oversee the Office of Academic and Career Services, the Office of Disability Resources and the offices administering the Writing Center, the Speaking Center and the QEP.

O’Donnell is the final addition to Levin’s administrative staff. Levin, who took the provost’s post in 2013, previously appointed longtime history professor Jeff McClurken special assistant to the provost for technology, teaching and innovation, Kelly Graham as director of the academic and career services department, and Kimberly Buster–Williams associate provost for enrollment management.

In a related development, Melissa L. Jones has been hired to work under O’Donnell as assistant dean for student involvement. Jones previously worked at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was associate director of residence education and associate director with the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976