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UNC Pembroke names Dr. David Ward as provost


PEMBROKE, N.C. – Dr. David Ward will become the next provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Ward currently serves as dean of the College of Health Professions at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga. He brings 29 years of experience in teaching, health care practice and administration in higher education.

Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings made the announcement following a special meeting of the Board of Trustees on Thursday. The trustees voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the Provost Search Committee.

“As chief academic officer, the provost is responsible for leading and supporting our faculty in teaching, research and service. The position of provost is vitally important to the future of our university,” Dr. Cummings said.

“UNC Pembroke is presented with incredible opportunities to expand our impact in the coming years, and Dr. Ward has the experience and vision to ensure we seize this decisive moment,” he said.

“As the university builds on our role as a driver of economic development across southeastern North Carolina the provost is essential to ensuring our academic pathways address the needs of our region.”

At Armstrong State University, Ward led the largest undergraduate health college in Georgia. The College of Health Professions enrollment increased by 7 percent under his leadership. He also served one year as interim provost at Armstrong State.

Ward’s interest in UNC Pembroke was driven by two factors: the opportunity to lead an institution that is focused on the future and UNC Pembroke’s commitment to diversity in all its forms, along with a focus on both affordability and academic rigor.

During his interview process at UNC Pembroke, Ward said he was most impressed by the enthusiasm surrounding the institution.

“The amount of pride the faculty and staff have for the university, for its students and the outcomes they are achieving was a real draw,” Ward said. “It was infectious.”

As provost at UNCP, Ward will serve as the senior leader over the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Graduate School, the School of Education, Esther G. Maynor Honors College, and academic support functions.

“As provost, I have to be concerned about academic quality and ensuring students receive a world-class education,” he said. “In addition, I look forward to the opportunity to expand the academic offerings at UNC Pembroke and bring new programs to the university and the region.”

Dr. Richard Vela, professor in the Department of English, Theatre and Foreign Languages at UNCP, led the 15-member Provost Search Committee. The process included multiple interactions and open forums during campus visits from the finalists. Members of the campus community were encouraged to provide feedback about candidates.

Feedback described Ward as “a strong communicator, energetic, personable, warm, and a visionary administrator” by those who engaged him during a campus reception.

“I believe that Dr. Ward’s background, especially his specific experience with programs in health-related fields and with budgets, along with his willingness to take a very personal approach to negotiating issues, will help advance UNCP’s vision,” Vela said.

Ward previously served as dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions at the University of New England. There, he oversaw operations on multiple campuses in Maine and Tel Aviv, Israel.

His vast experience in higher education also includes appointments as associate dean for Student Affairs and Planning and professor of health administration and policy at the Medical University of South Carolina. He also served as chair of the Department of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina.

His teaching experience includes financial management, health care accounting and applied research methods. His research activities have focused on the use of cost-effectiveness analysis and linear programming for increasing the efficiency of health care spending.

Ward is also a co-author of six books. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Health Care Financing Review, Public Budgeting and Financial Management, and the American Journal of Public Health.

In 2003, he was named Teacher of the Year for the College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South Carolina. His book “Accounting Fundamentals for Healthcare Management” was selected as American Journal of Nursing’s 2006 Book of the Year. He was named Developing Scholar of the Year in 1998 by the Medical University of South Carolina.

He was a member of the Cost Accounting and Analysis Advisory Panel for the Finance Project and a former member of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research at the National Institute on Nursing Research.

A native of Searingtown, NY, Ward earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Colgate University. He holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

“This is a new chapter for my wife, JoAnne, and me,” he said. “I am enormously honored that Chancellor Cummings and the entire Pembroke community is entrusting me with this awesome responsibility.”

“UNC Pembroke plays a critical role in impacting future generations and I am humbled by the community’s willingness to have me be a part of that,” he said. 

Dr. Ward’s appointment will begin June 5, 2017.