Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook has named Denise Cobb, PhD, as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. The selection is pending board of trustees approval.
Cobb (left) served as the interim provost since October 2015. Prior to that appointment, she was assistant provost for academic innovation and effectiveness, and then associate provost for academic affairs since June 2012.
“The search committee and Chancellor Pembrook have made the absolute right decision for the SIUE campus community, and I want to congratulate Dr. Cobb on being recommended to the SIU board of trustees for the provost’s position,” said SIU President Randy Dunn. “Denise has been a great steward during her interim service and this appointment will allow her to continue the positive steps she already has underway for the benefit of our students, faculty and academic staff. I’ve enjoyed working with her this past year and look forward to doing so in the future.”
“All of us, who have had a chance to interact with Dr. Cobb as part of the interview process or through interactions during her period as interim provost, recognize her many positive qualities such as institutional knowledge, decisiveness, building positive relationships with individuals at SIUE and in the community, thorough knowledge of our budget processes, and her dedication to SIUE,” Pembrook said. “I know Dr. Cobb will hit the ground running and will continue to offer great leadership in the academic arena.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue serving this university and community,” Cobb said. “I am humbled to be a part of this vibrant campus and to have this opportunity to lead and work collaboratively with faculty, staff and students. I sincerely appreciate the work of the search committee and everyone who participated in this process. I want to thank Chancellor Pembrook and the SIUE community for their support.”
“Together, we will build on our excellent academic programs that meet the needs of current and future students, while serving the needs of the region, state and world. I am excited to support the good work that we have already accomplished, and I will encourage the innovative possibilities that will drive our future. It is a great honor and responsibility to help nurture a campus climate that reflects our commitment to excellence, diversity, inclusion, and equity.”
In the Office of the Provost, Cobb’s 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 revision of the University’s honor’s program
• Supporting the vibrancy of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) 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
• Facilitating the development and launch of new academic programs, including a rapid online program development initiative
• Supporting efforts to promote student retention and success through varied initiatives
“During the evaluation of candidates, Dr. Cobb’s commitment to shared governance, and her willingness to mediate between those with differing opinions, soon emerged as a common thread among those participating in the feedback process,” said Anthony Cheeseboro, PhD, search committee chair and associate professor of historical studies in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences. “It is clear that the faculty and staff at SIUE see Dr. Cobb as approachable, yet highly capable, and uniquely knowledgeable about the issues important to this University. Those factors, along with her commitment to diversity, made her an outstanding choice among a very strong field of candidates.”
“As a first generation college graduate, I believe in the possibilities and power of higher education, and an SIUE education, in particular,” Cobb said. “I am confident in our ability to work collaboratively to achieve our goals, positively influence the region and ensure the success of our students.”
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.
— From the Illinois Business Journal