KALAMAZOO, Mich.—After conducting a nationwide search, Western Michigan University has named Dr. Jennifer P. Bott, business dean at Ball State University, as its new provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Bott is the Bryan Dean of the Miller College of Business and professor of management at Ball State, a position she has held for three years. Her appointment to become WMU's chief academic officer, effective July 1, was announced by WMU President Edward Montgomery.
"Dr. Bott brings to the position a strong background in teaching, research and community engagement," says Montgomery. "She has held senior leadership positions in which she demonstrated her acumen in strategic planning, program development, budgeting and shared governance. She also brings to her new role a track record of success in fundraising, building enrollment and working across institutional silos."
Part of the Ball State community since 2004, Bott began her career there as assistant professor of management. Prior to becoming business dean, she spent five years as assistant and then associate provost for learning initiatives. Her responsibilities included student success efforts as well as administrative, student, faculty and research services for Ball State's online and blended education enterprise.
She was selected as an American Council on Education Fellow in 2013-14, spending time at host institution West Virginia University, where she was mentored by WVU President Gordon Gee and Dr. Jim Clements, who is now president of Clemson University.
As business dean, she oversees Ball State's Launch Indiana business and community development initiatives and is actively engaged in the community through service on corporate and nonprofit boards. She also is a Certified University Planner and served on two of Ball State's Strategic Planning Leadership Teams.
Bott says Montgomery's focus on transformational initiatives from the start of his WMU presidency and the opportunity to be part of a leadership team that is focused on big ideas and committed to student success led her to pursue the WMU role.
"I was stunned at how much innovation is occurring in every part of the campus," she says of her recent visit to campus and research on WMU. "I was deeply impressed by the creativity I saw among the faculty, staff and students. And the opportunity to be part of a leadership team that embraces big, transformational ideas was very appealing."
She points to the University's Signature Program, which allows students to tailor and document the breadth of their University experience, as an idea that has the potential to differentiate WMU. She also sees the campuswide commitment to student success as one that will be critical to WMU's future.
"Student success will be a key defining feature for colleges moving forward for years to come," she says.
Bott earned a bachelor's degree from DePauw University and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Akron. She also has earned certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. Her research interests include methodology and statistics, the intersection of new media and human resources, and organizational and generational diversity.
She has published widely on such topics as instructional advances, research methods and applied business topics. Her publication record includes more than two dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as five book chapters. In addition, she has made 30 peer-reviewed presentations. She also has enjoyed success in securing external funding for her work, receiving $1.85 million in grants over the past six years. In addition to her external research funding, Bott raised $15 million in private funds in her three years as dean, supporting student and faculty success.
Bott's teaching experience includes coursework in human resource management and statistics, and she has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. She also led several immersive learning projects, one of which involved partnering with NFL quarterback Peyton Manning to develop a curriculum aimed at reducing childhood obesity taught in 400 schools across Indiana.
In her new role at WMU, Bott will replace Dr. Timothy J. Greene, who returned to the engineering faculty last summer after serving for nine years as provost. Graduate College Dean Dr. Susan Stapleton has been serving as interim provost since his departure.
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