University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken announced today that Executive Vice President and Provost Linda Ray Pratt will step down June 30, 2012, to return to her professional roots in the UNL Department of English.
“Linda Pratt has served this university in so many ways over more than four decades, and while I hate to lose her great skill in the Provost’s office, it is fitting that she is going to finish her career in the classroom,” Milliken said. “Linda has been a great partner in helping lead many important initiatives over the last six years and she will be greatly missed.”
Pratt will have served as NU’s highest academic officer for six years. She joined the faculty in the UNL Department of English in 1968. From 1995 to 2005, she served as chair of the department and she also was interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from 2000 to 2001.
Pratt said she is looking forward to teaching again in her areas of expertise – Victorian and early modern poetry – and pursuing her research interests.“I worked many years as a faculty member before going into full-time administration,” Pratt said, “and I want to do that again. I’ve missed the poems and teaching and writing about them.”
The university will conduct a national search for Pratt’s successor. Milliken said he hopes to have a new executive vice president and provost in place prior to the beginning of the next academic year.
Among Pratt’s highest accomplishments as executive vice president and provost has been her leadership of the implementation of the new Student Information System, a project that included the four NU campuses and the three campuses of the Nebraska State College System. Pratt also worked with faculty to draft the proposal for the new Buffett Early Childhood Institute and proposed the Thompson Learning Communities at UNL, UNO and UNK.
“As provost, I have had the opportunity to help bring into being some of the great new projects that are moving the University forward,” Pratt said. “The Buffett Early Childhood Institute, the Thompson Learning Communities and the OnCourse program with the community colleges are among the projects that help students and advance our research efforts. I am happy to have had a hand in them.”
Pratt earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Emory University. She has served on numerous national boards and committees, and is widely published in areas such as the financing of higher education, academic freedom, challenges facing part-time faculty and other issues in academe. Her honors include the Emory University Distinguished Alumni Award and a Distinguished Teaching Award from NU. She has served as the national president of the American Association of University Professors.
After the president, the executive vice president and provost is NU’s ranking administrative officer. The executive vice president and provost advises the president, chancellors and Board of Regents on matters related to academic affairs, graduate studies and research, and also is responsible for recommending changes or additions to academic programs and reviewing promotion and tenure recommendations. The provost’s office oversees all academic programs and activities, including global engagement initiatives and institutional research, at the university.