Carol Burton, associate provost for undergraduate studies at Western Carolina University, has been appointed to the position of acting provost, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Announcement of Burton’s appointment to the new role was made Wednesday, Nov. 29, by current Provost Alison Morrison-Shetlar, who was named WCU’s acting chancellor on Tuesday, Nov. 28, by University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings. That change also takes effect Jan. 1.
Both appointments are necessitated by the Nov. 27 announcement from WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher that he plans to go on medical leave Dec. 31. Belcher, who has been battling brain cancer since April 2016, has served as chancellor since 2011.
In accepting the role of acting provost, Burton also will serve as acting vice chancellor for academic affairs. She has been associate provost for undergraduate studies since 2007, overseeing the Mountain Heritage Center, the Center for Service Learning, the Center for Career and Professional Development and Liberal Studies, as well as other duties. She currently is leading the campuswide effort to revise the university’s “2020 Vision” strategic plan.
“I am deeply grateful to Carol for her willingness to step forward at this time, as well as having the utmost confidence in her ability to serve our students, faculty and staff in support of the mission of Western Carolina University,” Morrison-Shetlar said.
Burton, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WCU, said she feels an intense obligation to serve in the new leadership capacity during a critical time in her alma mater’s history.
“I am proud and humbled to continue to support WCU’s ongoing excellence, albeit in a more challenging role,” she said. “Our community is a reflection of the strong leadership and participatory membership already in place, and I look forward to our continued success in serving our faculty, staff and students in my new capacity.”
Burton earned her doctoral degree in education at North Carolina State University in 2007. “I am saddened by the circumstances of this transition. Chancellor Belcher is an amazing leader whom I admire very much,” she said.
Spellings said she will work closely with Patricia B. Kaemmerling, chair of the WCU Board of Trustees, to begin planning the search for a permanent chancellor. Details of the search process will be announced later.