Published: May 17, 2005

Kim Wilcox recommended as MSU provost

EAST LANSING, Mich.  Kim Wilcox, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and vice provost for general education coordination at the University of Kansas, will be recommended as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Michigan State University, his alma mater.

MSU President Lou Anna Kimsey Simon will recommend Wilcox’s appointment to the MSU Board of Trustees. The board is expected to vote on the recommendation at or before its June 17 meeting.

“Michigan State University is indeed very fortunate to recruit an academic leader of the stature of Dr. Kim A. Wilcox,” said Simon. “Dr. Wilcox’s broad experience, commitment to academic excellence and passion for land-grant values make him well-suited to enhance our quality and international reputation. We enthusiastically welcome him to Team MSU.”

“I’m excited to be coming back,” Wilcox said. “It’s a great time to come back to MSU. President Simon, the Board of Trustees and the faculty have a great vision for the future of the university. I’m looking forward to both the challenge and the opportunity of working together to advance MSU in the 21st century. It should be great fun.”

David Porteous, MSU Board of Trustees chairperson, said he received numerous positive comments about Wilcox from members of the MSU community who attended the provost candidate public forums or were involved in the search process. “The comments were universally supportive of Dr. Wilcox, his ideas, his vision, his passion and his excellent grasp of MSU. He carries a love for the institution from his undergraduate days and brings over 20 years of diverse experience at other institutions, which is extremely helpful as we look at new and creative ways to solve very challenging issues.”

Wilcox, who will succeed acting provost John Hudzik, is expected to start at MSU before the start of fall semester. Simon served as provost for 11 years prior to Hudzik’s appointment in January.

“The committee has made a great recommendation with Dr. Wilcox,” said Hudzik.“I look forward to welcoming him to campus.”

The recommendation of Wilcox follows a search process endorsed by academic governance. The search and ratings committee for provost and vice president for academic affairs selected five final candidates from a pool of roughly 50 applicants to interview for the position.

“The search committee found that Dr. Wilcox had a unique background and set of experiences that make him particularly suitable to be the next provost of MSU and we are delighted that he will be coming to East Lansing,” said Lynne Goldstein, search committee chairperson and anthropology professor and chairperson. “In addition to a strong scholarly interdisciplinary background focused on speech, language and hearing, he has served as department chair, dean, vice provost, and president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. We think he will bring new ideas and new energy to MSU.”

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Wilcox received his bachelor’s degree from MSU (1976) and his master’s (1978) and doctorate (1980) from Purdue University. Since 2002 he has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the largest academic unit at the University of Kansas, with more than 50 departments and programs, 650 faculty, and 17,000 students. Prior to his appointment as dean, Wilcox served for three years as president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, providing leadership for a system of over 150,000 students. As president, he oversaw the first major restructuring of higher education in the state’s history, including the creation of Kansas’ first higher education coordinating board, first unified budget for higher education and its first statewide higher education plan. Before being appointed president and CEO, Wilcox spent one year as interim director of academic affairs for the Board of Regents.

Wilcox began his career on the faculty at the University of Missouri. He then spent 14 years on the faculty of the University of Kansas, including 10 as chair of the department of speech-language-hearing. In addition to previous service as special counsel to the chancellor at the University of Kansas, Wilcox is a past KU vice chancellor fellow and a fellow of the American Council on Education. In 1991 Wilcox initiated the Native American training program in speech-language pathology in collaboration with Haskell Indian Nations University. He has published extensively in the area of developmental speech acoustics, is the recipient of several teaching awards, and has directed teaching, research and service projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Wilcox said one of the biggest challenges facing MSU and higher education as a whole is how to help all of America and all of the world benefit from the knowledge that is created in colleges and universities. “MSU has a unique set of resources and with those come special responsibilities,” said Wilcox. “We, as the university community, need to spend time having a full conversation about how to fulfill these responsibilities.”

Simon will recommend Wilcox’s annual salary, including deferred compensation, to be $275,000, the average of the Big Ten provost salaries for 2004-05.