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CMU announces selection of next provost

Nancy Mathews will join the university on August 1

| Author: Ari Harris

Central Michigan University President Bob Davies today announced the appointment of the university’s next provost and executive vice president, Nancy Mathews.

Mathews currently serves as dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont and has more than 30 years of higher education experience.

Nancy Mathews
Nancy Mathews

“Nancy has a track record of being a collaborative, empathetic and courageous leader with a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities we face,” Davies said. “She also will bring strong experience and an understanding of shared governance to the position, and she has the ability to interact well with our university’s many stakeholders, from students to members of the CMU Board of Trustees. I look forward to working with her to advance CMU’s efforts in enrollment through our commitment to rigor, relevance and excellence.”

 In her current role, Mathews leads an interdisciplinary unit focused on environmental science, sustainability, and natural resources. As dean, she has focused on building academic excellence, with an enduring commitment to environmental justice and equity, to prepare students to lead in a rapidly changing world. She also serves as professor of wildlife and fisheries biology.

She previously served as director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, connecting campus with the local community through a wide range of service-learning and volunteer experiences. Her prior roles at the University of Wisconsin also include chair of the Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development graduate program; director of Institutional Reaccreditation and 10-year self-study in the Office of the Provost; and professor positions in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Wildlife Ecology.

Among her prior roles in higher education, Mathews also was a research professor in the Department of Range and Wildlife Management and the assistant unit leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Texas Tech University.

CMU’s R2 Carnegie designation and its reputation for excellence in both teaching and research led Mathews to consider the role as provost.

“The teacher-scholar model for CMU — the focus on student-centered learning combined with an emphasis on the integration of new knowledge — is exciting,” she said. “I look forward to partnering with the president, faculty leaders and others to advance excellence in teaching, research and creative activities.”

A former resident of Oakland County, Michigan, Mathews also said she looks forward to returning to the Midwest — especially to the natural beauty of Mount Pleasant’s community.

“Being nestled in among the woods and fields feels like home,” she said.

Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from The Pennsylvania State University, and both a master’s degree and doctoral degree in forest biology from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Her tenure at CMU will begin August 1, 2022.