About the Provost

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.

2 thoughts on “About the Provost

  1. The students in the College of Education Early Childhood are highly upset at the Universities decision to not renew Dr. Kimberly Alexander’s contract. We feel as if her teaching methods and respect for us as students have helpedThe students in the College of Education Early Childhood are highly upset at the Universities decision to not renew Dr. Kimberly Alexander’s contract. We feel as if her teaching methods and respect for us as students have helped us the most from our time in the Teacher Education Program. She truly cares about each of us and wants to see us succeed. We have had faculty bully and try to intimidate us. Not Dr. Alexander, she respects us. We were looking forward to working with her next year because she will balance the negativity that the other professors bring. We feel that you have made a grave mistake. We are customers as well as students and this isn’t fair to us.

  2. As a student in the Education Department, I am very displeased with the decision to not renew Dr. Alexander’s contract. Out of my 3 years at the university she is the best teacher that I have had and after requesting her class this year just to find out that she has been fired has been very disheartening. I was so looking forward to taking her again and having her help me through my hardest and most important year of college. With all the money that we pay to take these classes, we are not given the opportunity to have someone who will help us and support us and make sure we are fully prepared to teach the future of America. Instead we are stuck with teachers who, at best, give us a clear example of what NOT to do as teachers. I am very disappointed in the Provost’s decision and I feel that as a customer I am being ripped off and as a future teacher I am being left unprepared to handle my job.

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