ECU names Mitchelson interim provost

Left to right, Robert S. Rippy, UNC Board of Governors member; Virginia Hardy, ECU vice chancellor for student affairs; ECU Provost Marilyn Sheerer; and Phyllis Horns, ECU vice chancellor for Health Sciences, applaud the appointment of Dr. Ron Mitchelson as interim provost for the university. The announcement was made at the April 25 meeting of the ECU Board of Trustees. Sheerer informed the university in February that she would step down as provost in August. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Left to right, Robert S. Rippy, UNC Board of Governors member; Virginia Hardy, ECU vice chancellor for student affairs; ECU Provost Marilyn Sheerer; and Phyllis Horns, ECU vice chancellor for Health Sciences, applaud the appointment of Dr. Ron Mitchelson as interim provost for the university. The announcement was made at the April 25 meeting of the ECU Board of Trustees. Sheerer informed the university in February that she would step down as provost in August. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)


By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services


Dr. Ron Mitchelson, interim vice chancellor for research and graduate studies at East Carolina University, has been appointed interim provost effective Aug. 16.

A geographer, Mitchelson has been at ECU since 1999. He chaired the department of geography and served as interim chair of the English department. In 2011 he was appointed to chair ECU’s Program Prioritization Committee, which evaluated programs campuswide and examined the university’s academic structure.

“Ron Mitchelson has proven himself as department chair, associate vice chancellor and now interim vice chancellor,” said ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard, who announced the appointment Friday.

“He has excellent experience with the Program Prioritization Committee and the Committee on Fiscal Sustainability. He has earned the respect of his colleagues. Perhaps most important of all, the campus sees his integrity and sense of fairness. We are fortunate to have him at ECU.”

As interim provost, Mitchelson will serve as ECU’s chief academic officer with oversight of academic programming, enrollment management, institutional planning and research and equity and diversity. His salary is expected to be $260,000 and must be approved by the UNC Board of Governors.

Mitchelson’s immediate tasks include assessing recommendations of the Committee on Fiscal Sustainability, which he co-chairs with Rick Niswander, ECU vice chancellor for administration and finance. That committee is finalizing more than 50 recommendations to be presented to Ballard by May 1.

“While we do face challenging budgetary issues, I do remain quite confident that ECU will continue as a university committed to our students, our region and the state. A key priority will be to strengthen the integration of instruction, research, creative activities and economic development,” Mitchelson said

Mitchelson graduated from the State University of New York in Buffalo in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in geography. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from The Ohio State University. Before coming to ECU, he held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Georgia and Morehead State University in Kentucky.

He succeeds Dr. Marilyn Sheerer. In February, she announced that she will step down as provost effective in August.

Dr. Michael Van Scott will take over Mitchelson’s duties as interim associate vice chancellor for research and chief research officer in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies and report to Mitchelson and the vice chancellor for health sciences, Dr. Phyllis Horns.

Van Scott is a professor of physiology at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. He has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a doctorate from West Virginia University. Before coming to ECU, Van Scott was a research scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an award-winning mentor to doctoral and medical students and has published widely. Van Scott has received more than $6 million in research grants.