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Dr. Karen J. Wheeler Appointed to Academic Affairs Leadership


JONESBORO – Dr. Karen J. Wheeler joins Arkansas State University as the senior associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, A-State Provost Lynita Cooksey announced this week.

Wheeler was the associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for the past five years, serving as the provost’s leader in areas related to curriculum and degree programs, new off-site locations, program review and institutional assessment.  

Among her notable achievements were Higher Learning Commission approval for two new campus locations for UALR and supervision of the growing concurrent enrollment program.  Wheeler also was responsible for coordinating program reaccreditation for UALR, and she coordinated articulation agreements and MOUs (memoranda of understanding) with other two-year institutions in Arkansas.

“We are fortunate that an academic administrator with such depth of experience in Arkansas higher education was available,” Cooksey said.  “This position requires a person to serve as the overseeing administrator of some our most visible academic programs and initiatives.  Her experience in building strong relationships with students, faculty, department chairs, academic deans and staff while helping them navigate the daily opportunities and challenges of the university is invaluable. I am confident that Dr. Wheeler can make the connections on our campus quickly to give her the opportunity to move us forward as a university.”

Her day-to-day responsibilities at UALR have included oversight of several areas she will manage at Arkansas State under the recent reorganization of Academic Affairs.  Wheeler worked with UALR's graduate school, office of institutional research, study abroad and UALR’s online program.

Receiving her doctorate at Bowling Green State University in educational administration and higher education supervision, Wheeler completed her master’s degree in psychology at Austin Peay State University and completed post-master’s work in educational administration at the University of Tennessee.  Her bachelor’s degree is from Tennessee-Martin.

Prior to UALR, Wheeler had an extensive career with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, topping off her time with the state’s oversight board for colleges and universities as its associate director.  From 2003 to 2009, she was associate director for academic affairs at ADHE, and began her career with the agency in 1992 as a coordinator of federal programs, after which she was quickly promoted to associate director of research and planning.

“One of Dr. Wheeler’s strengths is her deep institutional knowledge of higher education administration along with her understanding of the HLC institutional accreditation process,” Cooksey said.  “As we look at the ever changing landscape of higher education, her guidance on our strategic decisions in academic affairs will be of great importance.”

Along her campus career, she worked in administrative positions at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and at Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas.  Wheeler has been an adjunct faculty member at three institutions.

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Dr. Karen J. Wheeler