Education

Jim Wohlpart resigning as University of Northern Iowa provost

He will lead Washington Central University

Northern Iowa presidential candidate and current interim president Jim Wohlpart speaks at the Presentation and Open Foru
Northern Iowa presidential candidate and current interim president Jim Wohlpart speaks at the Presentation and Open Forum in Maucker Union Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

CEDAR FALLS — Jim Wohlpart announced Thursday he is resigning after six years as the University of Northern Iowa’s provost to lead Central Washington University.

He will become president in June of the Ellensburg, Wash., public university, which had an enrollment of 15,818 in the 2019-20 school year, according to its website. UNI had 10,497 students that year and enrollment dropped to 9,522 this fall.

“It has been a deep honor to partner with so many faculty, staff and administrators across campus to elevate the great work of teaching, learning, scholarship and service here,” Wohlpart said in a UNI news release.

He added that working with students at the university has been one of the best parts of his job.

UNI President Mark Nook said Wohlpart excelled at one of the most difficult positions at any university, overseeing academic and operating budgets with numerous stakeholders. He also helped steer UNI planning during the tumultuous year of the pandemic.

“Jim is an outstanding administrator who inspires those around him and has built a culture of collaboration and trust across campus,” Nook said in the release.

Ron Erickson, board chairman at Central Washington, said in the release that Wohlpart’s academic and leadership experience in higher education set him apart from other candidates for president.

“Jim understands that we must elevate the civic engagement of our students in order to ensure a thriving democracy,” said Erickson, adding the urgency of that charge has never been greater. “His vision is one Central has long shared: to be a place of learning and growth that both supports and challenges students as they develop into fully informed citizens.”

Central Washington said Wohlpart’s annual salary will be $400,000.

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Wohlpart came to UNI in June 2015 from Florida Gulf Coast University, where he was an English professor.

Just over a year after arriving, he was named interim president when UNI President Bill Ruud left to head Marietta College in Ohio. He remained in that position until January 2017, when Nook became UNI’s president.

Wohlpart was one of three finalists for the UNI presidency.

During his time at UNI, Wohlpart created a Leadership Academy to develop leaders on campus, helped with preparations for the upcoming Higher Learning Commission Accreditation, revamped the budgeting process to improve transparency and backed efforts to support and retain underrepresented students.

Wohlpart holds a doctorate in English from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree in English from Colorado State University and bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Tennessee.

UNI will launch the search for its next provost this spring.

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