John Coleman will be the next vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Coleman is currently the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The appointment takes effect July 19, and his title will be vice chancellor designate until board approval.
“Dean Coleman has established an international reputation as an educator, scholar and academic leader,” said Chancellor Robert J. Jones. “He has served nearly his entire academic career in Big Ten, public, land-grant research universities, so he comes to Illinois with a deep and profound understanding of our foundational obligations to translate knowledge, education and exploration into better lives for those we serve.”
Coleman has been dean at Minnesota since 2014. While in the role, the College of Liberal Arts significantly increased enrollment and retention rates for students from underrepresented backgrounds and saw overall graduation rates for all students rise. He also led faculty-focused initiatives with new investments in programs to reward research innovation and supported the development of new cross-college degree programs. He also expanded the college’s engagement with alumni, donors and the community.
Before joining the University of Minnesota, Coleman spent more than two decades at the University of Wisconsin as a faculty member and department chair in the department of political science. He began his academic career at the University of Texas at Austin, and he holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“I am delighted to be joining the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a world-class institution with excellence that runs both wide and deep,” Coleman said. “Great institutions are driven to excel and to ask themselves, ‘What’s next?’ During my conversations, I was impressed by the optimistic determination of the Illinois community at this transformative time in higher education to wrestle with the big questions facing us and to do so in a spirit of creativity, collaboration and inclusion that ensures we expand opportunity and impact across all facets of our land-grant mission.”
Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs William Bernhard has served as the interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost since July, following the departure of Andreas Cangellaris, who is now the founding president of NEOM University in Saudi Arabia.
A national search headed by Jeff Brown, the dean of the Gies College of Business, produced a field of candidates narrowed to four finalists for Jones’ consideration. The four made presentations in January and February that were open to the university community.