Pamela S. Whitten, dean of the Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences, has been named UGA’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost effective Feb. 1.
Whitten was chosen from among four finalists identified in a national search to fill the second highest position in the UGA administration. She succeeds Jere W. Morehead, who became president July 1 of this year. Libby V. Morris, veteran UGA administrator and a leading scholar of higher education, is serving as interim provost.
In addition to the appointment as provost, Whitten will hold tenured faculty appointments jointly in three departments: telecommunications in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, health policy and management in the College of Public Health and communication studies in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
“Pam Whitten possesses the background and ability to move the academic programs of the University of Georgia forward with a focus on excellence,” Morehead said. “She is prepared to join me in leading UGA in a collaborative process focused on making the difficult and strong decisions that will assure our continued upward trajectory as a great public research university. It is a role I believe matches her strengths, and I am glad to welcome her to our senior leadership team.”
Morehead also thanked the 23-member search committee, which was led by William Gray Potter, university librarian and associate provost.
“I am grateful to Dr. Potter for his leadership and to the faculty, staff, student and alumni members of the committee who played such an integral role in this process,” he said.
“I am deeply honored to join a university with the tradition and strong academic reputation of the University of Georgia,” Whitten said. “As provost, creating a world-class educational experience for students will always be my highest priority. As an innovative public land-grant institution, we also will seek to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Georgia and the world through ground-breaking scholarship. With the strong leadership in place, outstanding faculty and top-notch students, I am enthusiastic about the future for the University of Georgia.”
Whitten started her career at Michigan State in 1998 as an assistant professor in the department of telecommunication, information studies and media and has held numerous positions at the university. In addition to her current role as dean, she is a professor in the department of telecommunication, information studies and media.
She is known internationally for her work in the field of telemedicine, specifically focusing on the use of technology in health care with an interest in telehealth and its applications to improve patient care through the delivery of health care services and education. Her varied work also includes research into how burgeoning information technology can help rural youth, rural economic development and health service delivery in rural areas. Her research grants are from funders such as the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Health Resources and Services Administration and the Kellogg Foundation.
Prior to joining the Michigan State faculty, Whitten ran the telemedicine program for the state of Kansas through the University of Kansas Medical Center, where she served on the faculty. She earned her bachelor’s degree in management from Tulane University, her master’s degree in communication from the University of Kentucky and her doctoral degree in communication from the University of Kansas.
The UGA senior vice president for academic affairs and provost is the chief academic officer for the university. The position oversees instruction, research, public service and outreach, student affairs and information technology. The vice presidents for these five areas report to the provost, as do the deans of UGA’s schools and colleges.
Associate provosts for academic fiscal affairs, academic planning, academic programs, the Honors Program, institutional diversity, international education and the libraries also report to the provost, as does the vice provost for academic affairs.