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SIU board approves Cobb as Edwardsville interim provost


From Illinois Business Journal news services

The Southern Illinois University board of trustees today approved Denise Cobb, PhD, as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Edwardsville campus. The board held its regularly scheduled meeting on the Carbondale campus.

SIUE Interim Chancellor Stephen Hansen appointed Cobb to the interim provost role in October 2015. Since June 2012, she has served as assistant provost for academic innovation and effectiveness and then associate provost for academic affairs.

“I remain humbled by the opportunity to serve this university,” Cobb said. “I am proud to be a part of this intellectual community. I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to develop shared academic goals and priorities that foster structure and a climate that support an inclusive and diverse community of learners.”

In the Office of the Provost, her responsibilities and achievements have included:

– Coordinating the successful reaffirmation of SIUE’s institutional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission
– Assisting in the university’s strategic planning and assessment
– Facilitating the curricular review process and revising the university’s honor’s program
– Supporting the vibrancy of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Program, senior assignment and faculty development programming
– Launching a Junior Faculty Development Program in collaboration with the associate chancellor for diversity and inclusion and the director of faculty development

“As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the transformative potential and tremendous value of an SIUE education,” Cobb said. “I have confidence in our academic community’s abilities to work collaboratively and chart our future, ensuring the success of our students.

“SIUE offers significant opportunities for students to engage with excellent faculty, participate in research and creative activities with close mentoring. An SIUE student is able to gain a liberal arts education while pursuing advanced knowledge in one’s chosen field and take part in high-impact learning through a rich array of programs, projects and a nationally recognized capstone experience.”

Cobb joined the SIUE Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies in 2003 as an assistant professor in sociology and was promoted to professor in 2015. As a faculty member committed to interdisciplinary scholarship, she has co-authored and co-presented with colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines on such topics as capstone experiences for college students and LGBT issues in criminal justice education.

She has been integrally involved in numerous externally funded research projects with the SIUE Graduate School and is dedicated to broadening participation and success of under-represented student and faculty populations in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduate programs.

An Arkansas native, Cobb earned a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1993 where she was a Donaghey Scholar. She earned a master’s in 1995 from the University of Central Arkansas and a doctorate from Tulane University in 2003.

Cobb stepped into the interim provost position when Parviz Ansari, PhD, assumed the role of vice chancellor for strategic initiatives.

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