Marilyn Sheerer, who has served as interim provost at University of North Carolina Wilmington since June, has been named to the post on a permanent basis, effective Monday. The university announced her selection Monday morning in a news release.
“I am so pleased that Dr. Sheerer has accepted the offer to serve as provost and vice chancellor of this great institution,” UNCW chancellor Jose Sartarelli said in the release. “Marilyn has proven to be an outstanding leader and has an excellent record as an administrator and scholar. I have enjoyed working with Marilyn in her capacity as interim provost, and she will continue be a great asset to UNCW.”
Sheerer reports to Sartarelli and will oversee all academic units of the university and serve as chief operating officer of the university, the release stated. She succeeds former provost Denise Battles, who left UNCW last summer to become president of the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Sheerer has earned kudos from many at UNCW during her months as interim provost, according to Ron Vetter, associate provost of research and dean of the graduate school.
“Dr. Sheerer brings a wealth of administrative experience to UNCW,” Vetter said Monday in an email. “Her open communication style and collaborative approach to solving problems are no doubt what makes her such an effective leader. UNCW is fortunate to have her join the senior administrative leadership team.”
Asked Monday afternoon what she looks forward to in her tenure as provost, Sheerer cited the development of new programs in such areas as health and human services, business and marine science. Coming from East Carolina University, which she said has real strengths in distance learning, Sheerer looks forward to working with Sartarelli to create new options for similar programs at UNCW.
Sheerer said, however, that development of graduate and specialized distance learning curricula should not happen at the expense of a quality undergraduate program and a focus on the liberal arts.
It was also the people she met at UNCW, including a "really dynamic" chancellor, that made her want to remain as provost.
"I appreciate the commitment of the faculty on this campus," she said, adding that she has spoken to many UNCW students who, without prompting, talk about the interest faculty members take in them.
"I wouldn't have agreed to stay if I didn't think there were amazing things going on at UNCW," she said.
Prior to her arrival at UNCW last summer, Sheerer served as the provost of ECU from 2007 to 2014. Before that she held a variety of other administrative positions there.
“During Dr. Sheerer’s time at ECU, she led the creation of the university’s Honors College; expanded distance education; secured $1 million in private funding to initiate special programming for learning disabled students; secured $3 million in grants in support of academic programs; and improved budget and personnel processes within the Division of Academic Affairs,” the UNCW release stated.
Earlier in her career, Sheerer was on the faculty at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and at Northern Illinois University.
The new provost holds a bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg State College, a master’s degree from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. from Ohio University.