Provost Smith plans to return to the classroom
(June 5, 2007)
Dr. James LeRoy Smith, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at East Carolina University, has announced that he is stepping down from his administrative duties to return to teaching.
“I am honored to have been able to serve ECU as provost, but it is time to get back into the classroom,” Smith said. “I have always been proud of this university, and I am especially proud of what we achieved over the last four years.”
During that time, the university has been the fastest-growing campus in the University of North Carolina system. Smith has overseen the hiring of hundreds of faculty members and has appointed deans of three of the university’s colleges as well as the director of Academic Library Services. The university is awarding record numbers of degrees and its retention and graduation rates are higher than those that would be predicted by the test scores of its incoming students.
Smith, who joined ECU 38 years ago as a faculty member in the philosophy department, said his first love has always been the classroom. He continued to teach an ethics course while he served as the university’s chief academic officer. He was named interim provost in September 2003 and was selected for the role after a national search in March 2005. His resignation is effective June 30.
Chancellor Steve Ballard praised Smith’s work as vital to the success of ECU. “My first three years here would have been much more difficult without Jim Smith’s guidance, advice and assistance,” Ballard said. “His service to the university over the last 38 years is unexcelled. His knowledge of the institution is vast, and he commands the respect and admiration of untold numbers of current and former students, faculty members and administrators.”
In addition to his current role, Smith has served as chair of the Department of Philosophy; chair of the ECU Faculty Senate; chair of the University of North Carolina Faculty Assembly, which represents faculty members system-wide; chair of the committee that led preparations for the university's reaccreditation in 1990-92; chair of two self-study committees preparing for NCAA certification; executive assistant to the chancellor; and assistant secretary to the ECU Board of Trustees.