Jay Gatrell, currently vice provost for faculty affairs and research at Bellarmine University, will be taking over the provost position at Eastern upon current Provost Blair Lord’s retirement.
According to a press release, Gatrell’s appointment goes into effect July 1.
Gatrell, who is also a geography and environmental studies professor at Bellarmine,
said he is excited to join the campus community.
“I look forward to working with the current students, faculty and the leadership to tell the community, parents, k-12 teachers and future students all about the outstanding story that is Eastern Illinois University,” Gatrell said. “I’m ‘bullish’ on the future as I earnestly believe students seek out, enroll and graduate from institutions like Eastern that are committed to their life-long success.”
Gatrell said since he is a faculty member himself, he understands the struggles faculty members face.
“It’s essential to listen to our colleagues,” Gatrell said. “I recognize that the capacity exists to promote effective collaboration and enliven the university’s mission through shared governance.”
Gatrell said he will advance Eastern’s mission by learning more about the university’s vitalization project efforts. He said he hopes to work with the campus to find new pathways for student success.
“This summer I anticipate beginning discussions with the deans and faculty leaders on designing an inclusive process for developing and implementing a strategic academic plan,” Gatrell said.
Gatrell said this plan will build off the positive qualities present in Eastern’s current programs.
Eastern President David Glassman said choosing the new provost was a difficult decision since all four candidates had administrative experience in academic affairs and had accomplished a significant amount at their current institutions.
“What stood out for Dr. Gatrell was his energy, passion and ability to engage others,” Glassman said. “I believe Dr. Gatrell’s approach to leadership will be based on openness, transparency and collaboration.”
Glassman said Gatrell will start out learning about the practices, policies and culture of the academic affairs division at Eastern as well as reviewing Eastern’s budgetary system. When the fall semester comes, Glassman said Gatrell will focus on hearing from faculty and meeting with academic departments.
“I also hope that Dr. Gatrell will become a partner with me in continuing the implementation of EIU’s vitalization project and advancing our strategies for increasing student enrollment,” Glassman said.
Faculty Senate chair Jemmie Robertson, also a member of the Provost and vice president for academic affairs search committee, said he is confident the faculty will work well with Gatrell to improve Eastern’s programs.
“His interaction with students really stood out as well. When he met with our committee he engaged the student members in a way the other candidates did not,” Robertson said. “He did not come in just as candidate to answer questions. He created a dialogue.”
Robertson said Gatrell seems to be a great fit for Eastern and he cannot wait to see all the things he will accomplish.
“The community and the president has embraced him with open arms,” Robertson said. “We have full confidence he is going to come in with a lot of enthusiasm and do a great job.”
Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]