Ohio State’s executive vice president and provost Joseph Steinmetz has been chosen as the new chancellor of the University of Arkansas, pending approval from the Board of Trustees of the UA system.
“With the help and input of the faculty, staff, students, search committee and search firm, I feel we exceeded that expectation and I’m honored to bring Dr. Steinmetz from an institution as respected and renowned as Ohio State to the UA System. He is certainly the right chancellor at the right time to continue UA’s progress into the future,” said University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt in a UA press release.
Steinmetz will be UA’s sixth chancellor and is set to officially begin there on Jan. 1. Daniel Ferritor, the university’s interim chancellor who has been operating in this role since the retirement of former chancellor G. David Gearhart in July, will continue to hold the position until then.
Earlier this month, Steinmetz was named one of three finalists for the position, and traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Oct. 13 to present at a public forum at the university, according to an Oct. 12 press release from UA.
Steinmetz, who has a background in behavioral neuroscience, is known for unifying the former five colleges of arts and sciences into the large College of Arts and Sciences after coming to OSU in 2009. Before becoming the provost — OSU’s chief academic officer — in 2013, he was the vice provost for arts and sciences and executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Previously, Steinmetz was dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas and was a faculty member at Indiana University for 19 years.
“I want you to know that my six-plus years at Ohio State as executive dean and more recently as executive vice president and provost have been wonderfully rewarding and I have appreciated the opportunity to work with all of you on behalf of all the faculty, students and staff at The Ohio State University,” Steinmetz stated in an email obtained by The Lantern that was sent to faculty and staff Wednesday morning.
But this position wasn’t the first one Steinmetz has been in the running for this year.
In August, Steinmetz was announced as the third of four candidates for president of the University of Iowa. He visited the campus in Iowa City, Iowa, but ultimately was not chosen for the job.
Earlier in March, he was named a candidate for president of the University of Texas, but he withdrew his name from consideration because he said he was comfortable staying at OSU.
OSU President Michael Drake said he thinks UA is “fortunate indeed” to have Steinmetz as the new chancellor.
“Joe has been a dedicated scholar and administrative leader at Ohio State,” Drake said in an emailed statement. “He has led our faculty, staff and students in elevating the important work of the university and championed our efforts to balance access, affordability and excellence across the institution. We will miss our friend and colleague, but he leaves with our hearty congratulations and best wishes.”
In the UA press release, Steinmetz said he is looking forward to joining the UA community.
“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with faculty, students and staff when on campus and felt a deep sense of excitement about the future of the institution from everyone I met there. It is a special place,” he said.
OSU spokesman Chris Davey said the university plans to make an announcement regarding an interim provost next month.
“In the coming weeks, President Drake will consult deans, faculty and others regarding our options for an interim provost,” Davey said in an emailed statement. “A national search for a permanent appointment will begin soon thereafter. We will ensure there is a robust transition plan that continues our trajectory of excellence.”