Dr. Karen Weddle-West agreed to serve as Interim Provost beginning May 16, 2014 and as of February 1, 2015, was named Provost. She has served 33 years as a college professor and 17 years as an administrator in higher education. Throughout her career, she has put students and their needs first in everything she does. She is innovative and inclusive in how she approaches solutions. Her depth and breadth of knowledge, expertise and understanding of our academic programs across campus is unparalleled.
Dr. Weddle-West has garnered a distinguished record of scholarship nationally and internationally in invited presentations, publications, and professional service focused on graduate education, graduate student research and diversity. She was appointed the University’s director of Diversity Initiatives in 2012. As diversity director, she has been the conduit for programs, services, funds and resources designed to promote, sustain and enhance campus diversity in higher education. In collaboration with a broad-based committee, she serves as the liaison between campus and community diversity initiatives designed to contribute to successful academic experiences for all students.
She currently serves as Chair of the National Council of Graduate Schools’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee and received the prestigious Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)/Peterson’s Award in 2006 for Innovation in Promoting an Inclusive Graduate Community. She was honored to be invited by the CGS to speak at the Library of Congress on Broadening Participation in Graduate Education during the 2009 CGS Legislative Forum. She is Chair of the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) Board, member of the GRE Research Committee, and Chair of the GRE Finance Committee. She also served on to the TOEFL Board (Test of English as a Foreign Language). She was elected President of the Tennessee Council of Graduate Schools in 2006 and led the initiative for the Governor’s Proclamation of Graduate Education Week in Tennessee. Over the years, she has collaborated with other institutions and professional organizations to secure more than $500,000 to support student access, completion, inclusiveness and enhancing diversity in the professoriate.
Notable accomplishments during her service as Vice Provost for Graduate Programs/Dean of the Graduate School and faculty member in Educational Psychology and Research include the oversight and launching of 60 new graduate programs and chairing and serving on more than 100 dissertation committees. Additional honors she received include a nomination by the President to participate in The ACE Millennium Leadership Initiative, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award at the University of Memphis, the 2014 Education Honoree of the University’s NAACP Freedom Ball and Mahogany Awards, the Earl Crader Award and the Igniting Excitement Award for Academic Excellence.
Dr. Weddle-West was awarded the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1977 and 1982 respectively from The University of Tennessee. She served as a college professor at Tennessee State University from 1981-86 and The Ohio State University from 1986-89. In 2003, she was selected as Vice Provost for Graduate Programs at the University of Memphis following a successful tenure as Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Education and a tenured Associate professor in Educational Psychology and Research where she won numerous honors and awards for excellence in teaching, research and service.