Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman announced today that Dr. Beth Fisher Ingram will be the university’s next executive vice president and provost beginning Thursday, May 16, 2019.
“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Ingram,” said Freeman. “She is an accomplished academic and administrator with a wealth of experience at top-flight public research universities. She not only understands the challenges facing public higher education but also has a demonstrated ability to find solutions that respect the mission, vision and values of institutions like ours.”
Ingram comes to NIU after serving four years as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at North Dakota State University (NDSU) where she created and implemented a new strategic plan and built many productive relationships to effectively develop a much better sense of direction for the institution. Through these efforts, and her leadership during an economic downturn in North Dakota, Dr. Ingram earned a reputation as a collaborative leader and data-informed problem-solver.
Dr. Ingram is committed to academic excellence, and she has demonstrated the ability to advance faculty scholarship and student success. At NDSU, she facilitated positive changes in research administration as well as the promotion and tenure processes. She also drove innovation in student support, including the creation of an early alert and advising system and the development of curriculum maps and four-year plans. Those efforts were credited with helping the school boost its four-year graduation rate from 26 percent to 37 percent over four years.
Prior to her time at NDSU, Ingram spent 26 years at the University of Iowa where she served as associate provost for undergraduate education, dean of the University College, associate dean for undergraduate programs in the Tippie College of Business and chair of the department of economics. She began her career in academe an assistant professor of economics at Cornell University in 1986 after completing her Ph.D. degree at the University of Minnesota. In 1988, she returned to the University of Iowa, where she did her undergraduate work, rising to the position of full professor in 2001. She held several prestigious professorships and won numerous awards for her teaching.
Ingram says that she was drawn to the NIU position for many reasons.
“NIU clearly embraces the mission of a public university, demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity, access and affordability,” Ingram said. “Dr. Freeman has put together a great leadership team and everyone is pulling in the same direction, working to create a great educational experience for students and to have a positive impact on the community.”
Also, she said, during her time on campus she got a sense that NIU is a university poised to take great strides.
“Everyone I met was so enthusiastic about being at NIU. Given all of the challenges the university has faced in recent years, that is impressive,” she said. “I get a sense that people on campus want to move forward, and want to turn the corner. They want to start thinking about building again. That makes NIU an exciting place to be, and I look forward to being part of the team moving the university forward.”
As the university prepares for new leadership in the Office of the Provost, Freeman commended Dr. Christopher McCord who has been acting executive vice president and provost since July 2017.
“Dr. McCord has been a trusted partner and invaluable asset as we have worked through this period of transition for the last 18 months,” Freeman said. “His integrity, his work ethic and the keen insights he has offered have made that process far more manageable. He has performed an incredible service to the university, and I am grateful beyond words for his dedication to the institution.”
After facilitating a transition period, Dr. McCord plans to take a professional development leave.
Freeman also announced that the university will be launching a national search for a new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Judy Ledgerwood has agreed to continue serving as acting dean until that search is completed.