UNCW names new provost

WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW NEWS RELEASE) — Denise A. Battles has been named the next provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Currently dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado, Battles will officially join the university July 16, replacing retiring provost Cathy Barlow.

“I could not be more pleased to welcome Dr. Battles to UNCW,” said Chancellor Gary L. Miller. “She has an excellent track record of strong leadership and effective management in higher education. Even more importantly, she is a creative problem solver who will bring new ideas and approaches to our campus, supporting our ongoing quest for innovation.”

The provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs reports directly to the chancellor, oversees all academic units of the university and serves as chief operating officer.

“I am truly excited to become a part of this excellent university,” said Battles. “UNC Wilmington has a strong reputation for academic quality, which will be maintained and enhanced through Chancellor Miller’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and community partnerships. I look forward to building on the strong foundation that is here at UNCW and working closely with faculty and staff to provide our students with an incredible learning experience.”

A professor of geology, Battles spent much of her academic career at Georgia Southern University, joining the faculty of the Department of Geology and Geography as an assistant professor in 1990. While moving through the academic ranks to associate professor and full professor, she also served in numerous administrative capacities, including assistant dean and associate dean of the Allen E. Paulson College of Science and Technology. In 2005, she became the first (founding) dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado.

Battles has received numerous honors and awards during her academic career. She served as president of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences in 2008-09 and, in the 2000-01 academic year, she served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Auburn University. She has published extensively, both on her research areas in geology and on effective leadership and institutional change in higher education.

She plans to relocate to Wilmington during the summer with her husband, Michael Mills.

“It’s a beautiful city and a very welcoming community,” she said. “It’s certainly different from northern Colorado, and we look forward to exploring the culture and environment of a coastal community.”

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