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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Curtis Named Provost and Chief Learning Officer

Contact Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 13, 2012) – Citing a need for academic leadership to strategically broaden and deepen student learning, University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose today named Illinois resident Deborah J. Curtis, Ph.D., UCM’s new provost and chief learning officer.

Curtis, who officially begins her duties July 1, has served since 2006 as dean of the College of Education at Illinois State University in Normal. She fills a position currently held by George Wilson, who retires in June after devoting 39 years of service to UCM.

Dr. Deborah Curtis
Dr. Deborah Curtis

“As we celebrate the well-deserved retirement of Dr. Wilson, a tremendous colleague and campus leader, we look forward to welcoming Dr. Curtis to the UCM family,” said President Ambrose. “She brings higher education leadership experience and vision to this key position that will enable us to help students flourish at UCM and be better prepared in a fast-changing global environment. I’m confident that Dr. Curtis is a visionary leader who will help UCM continue to build upon our commitment to objectives such as engaged learning, future-focused academics and servant-leadership.”

As dean, Curtis supervises three academic departments that provide baccalaureate, masters and doctoral level programs: Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Administration and Foundations, and Special Education.  The college serves 3,100 majors across programs preparing teachers, school administrators, higher education faculty, and higher education administrators.

Under Curtis’ leadership, the college has grown the acquisition of external dollars through grants, sustained more than 70 endowed scholarships for future educators, experienced a much-needed increase in the number of tenure-track faculty, and achieved an average ACT score of 24, which is slightly higher than the university-wide average. The College of Education also has strengthened diversity among faculty and students, established stronger relationships with the Chicago Public School System, and supported faculty seeking to build international connections that foster their work and the education of Illinois State students.

“I am exceptionally pleased to be joining the dynamic team led by President Ambrose at the University of Central Missouri.  The Central Missouri mission and vision as articulated by those I have met during this process have truly inspired me,” Curtis said. “This institution is on a clear path to excellence and distinction, and I am sincerely honored to be tapped for this important role.  My family and I look forward to becoming a part of the University of Central Missouri community.”

Curtis came to Illinois State in 1986 as an instructional assistant professor, and climbed the faculty ranks to become a professor in 1998. Earlier in her career, she served as music specialist teaching K-12 students at a variety of schools in Illinois and in Indiana.

Her college education includes a bachelor’s degree in music education from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill.; master’s degree in music education from the University of Illinois; and doctorate in curriculum and instruction: secondary education, supervision of instruction from Indiana State University, Terre Haute.

Curtis and her husband, Lynn, are the parents of five children and they have nine grandchildren. Lynn Curtis has worked in public education for more than 40 years, serving as a school district superintendent, junior/senior high school principal, athletic director, coach, and high school teacher.  Since his retirement as a superintendent in 2007, he has worked part-time as System Director for the Central Illinois Vocational Education Cooperative in Woodford County.

“We look forward to having the Curtis family in Warrensburg, and particularly working with Deborah to engage the entire campus community in our efforts to grow the energy and momentum that currently surrounds UCM,” Ambrose said.