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Academic leadership change: Cooksey named interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Howard to return to classroom


JONESBORO — Dr. Lynita Cooksey, associate vice chancellor for Academic Services, has been selected to serve as interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost at Arkansas State University. She replaces Dr. Dan Howard, who has resigned from his post and elected to return to the classroom as a full-time, tenured professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Special Education.        

Cooksey, a Jonesboro native, veteran faculty member and administrator at ASU, has held several leadership roles since joining the university staff in 1993.  Prior to her present appointment as associate vice chancellor for Academic Services in 2000, she was associate dean of what was then the College of Arts and Sciences, and taught for several years in the Department of Biological Sciences where she also held chair and associate chair positions.  Other ranks have included Dean of University College, where she was instrumental in establishing the First-Year Experience program at ASU. She is currently in charge of facilitating and coordinating the accreditation process with The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

 “This is an important time of change and growth at Arkansas State,” said ASU Chancellor Tim Hudson. “I am pleased Lynita Cooksey has agreed to act as the interim vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. She is a proven academic leader. Her wealth of institutional knowledge will be a great asset as we move toward that next level.”      

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to represent the university in this capacity,” said Dr. Cooksey.  “I am excited to lead an academic team of bright and talented individuals, both veterans and newcomers, who bring diversity of thought and ideas that will encourage growth and innovation throughout the entire campus.” 

Cooksey earned her doctoral degree in entomology at Oklahoma State University and bachelor and master degrees from Arkansas State University. She is married to Dr. Larry Hilburn.

Howard joined the university in January 2008 as the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. He was named interim chancellor at ASU in June 2010 upon the departure of then-Chancellor Robert L. Potts, who became the interim ASU System President. His significant accomplishments include developing the international program and spearheading the establishment of online graduate education degree programs. He will spend the 2012 fall semester in preparation to begin teaching in the 2013 spring semester.

“It has been my honor and privilege to have had the opportunity to serve Arkansas State University,” said Howard. “I have endeavored to carry out my duties and responsibilities ethically, judiciously and otherwise to the best of my ability.”

“Dr. Howard’s leadership as our interim chancellor and the various roles he held in academic leadership demonstrate his commitment to higher education," said Chancellor Hudson. "As he returns to the classroom, our students will receive the benefits of his knowledge and experience.”

Hudson said when faculty members return for the fall semester, Arkansas State University officials will invoke its shared governance protocols and seek input from faculty, staff and other stakeholders to conduct a national search for a successor to the provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs position. 

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