Historian Calvin White is Appointed Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
JONESBORO – Chancellor Todd Shields announced the selection of Dr. Calvin White Jr. as the next executive vice chancellor and provost at Arkansas State University.
“I am extremely excited that Calvin is joining our team at Arkansas State,” Shields said. “I am also appreciative of the incredible work our advisory committee put into finding the right leader for this pivotal role. Their enthusiastic support and feedback was that we should offer the position to Calvin. We cannot wait to welcome him to Jonesboro and to the Pack.”
Currently, White is the associate dean of humanities in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He joined UA in 2007 as an assistant professor, was promoted to associate professor in 2013, and has served in campus leadership roles including program director and department chair, as well as on strategic projects focused on budget preparation and oversight, assessment and accreditation, international education, fundraising and strategic planning.
His appointment is subject to confirmation by the ASU System Board of Trustees at their next meeting.
“I welcome, with great enthusiasm, this opportunity to work with the excellent faculty, staff, students and community of Arkansas State,” White said. “I look forward to the exciting challenge ahead, and to continuing to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of A-State’s thriving research, academic programs and overall vital intellectual campus life.
“As a native Arkansan, this is an exceptional opportunity to contribute as a leader to research, innovation and discovery that directly improves the lives of all Arkansans. My entire academic career has been focused on the overall intellectual growth of students, colleagues, peers, the institution, community and state,” he added.
His selection comes after a national search for the provost’s position, and his appointment is effective July 1. White is the first African American to serve as provost at A-State.
“I’m well acquainted with Calvin’s work from our previous time together, and I’m looking forward to everyone at A-State getting to know what an outstanding administrator and colleague he is,” Shields said. “In higher education as a whole, the road ahead will be demanding and Arkansas State, with the selection of White as our next provost, is better positioned to meet these challenges head-on.”
In his role as associate dean at UA’s largest college with 8,000-plus students, White supervised several academic areas comprised of programs, departments, centers and schools, including the Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, the Diane Blair Center for Southern Politics and Society, and the Arkansas Humanities Center. Prior to his most recent position with UA, he served as chair of the department of history at Fayetteville and as the director of the African and African American Studies Program.
During his time at UA, White served as a fellow in the SEC Academic Leadership Program and earned several teaching, advising and service awards, including the Fulbright Master Teacher Award, and the Dr. John and Mrs. Lois Imhoff Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student Mentorship. He also was inducted into the UA’s Teaching Academy and served as a Gilder-Lehrman Fellow at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.
White completed his Ph.D. in history at the University of Mississippi after earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Central Arkansas. Focusing on the history of the American South, his research in the African American experience – particularly in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta region – has led to multiple publications. His first book, The Rise to Respectability: Race, Religion, and the Church of God in Christ, was released in October 2012.
His most recent book, a biography of Oscar Stanton De Priest, is under contract with Palgrave Macmillan. De Priest was the first African American elected to the U.S. Congress in the 20th century, and the Illinois Republican went on to serve three terms in the House of Representatives.
Before joining the UA faculty, White was an instructor at the University of Mississippi, UA-Pulaski Tech, and an adjunct at UCA.
White takes over the A-State role from interim provost Len Frey, who served in that capacity during the spring 2023 semester following the return to faculty of previous provost Alan Utter in December 2022.
A native of Stuttgart, White enjoys spending time with his wife of 21 years, Shatara Porchia-White, and their daughter, Monroe Adeline Catherine, 10. One of his other great joys is travel. White has spent extensive time in east and west Africa and Europe along with numerous other international locations for research, personal and professional development.