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


Finalists Named for Provost and Chief Learning Officer

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Feb. 7, 2012) – The search for a new provost and chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri is moving forward with the selection of three finalists who will be invited to participate in on-campus interviews beginning in mid-February.

The field includes one internal candidate, Mike Wright, Ed.D.,  DTE, dean of the UCM College of Education; Titilayo Ufomata, Ph.D., associate provost and tenured professor of speech and communication at Kentucky State University in Frankfort; and Deborah J. Curtis, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education at Illinois State University in Normal.

Although itineraries for their campus visits are still being determined, there will be opportunities for faculty, staff and community residents to meet and hear presentations from candidates. Wright will speak Feb. 15; Ufomata, Feb. 19; and Curtis, Feb. 27. Times and locations will be announced.

Mike Wright

Dr. Michael Wright
Mike Wright

Wright has served in higher education for 27 years, including experience at five different universities and two community colleges. He came to UCM in 1999 as associate professor of technology education and coordinator of technology and occupational education. He was named chair of the Department of Career and Technology Education and professor of technology education in 2002, and became dean of the newly created College of Education five years later. His work at UCM also includes serving as director and co-director of the Missouri Center for Career Education. Wright’s many achievements as dean include leading UCM to become the second program in the United States to receive Project Lead The Way (engineering teacher education) certification, and recently negotiating a new membership category for UCM to become the only university member of the Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City, a world-class professional development network for faculty and administrators.

Wright’s education includes a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts education at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Titilayo Ufomata

Dr. Titilayo  Ufomata
Titilayo Ufomata

Ufomata, who gained early experience teaching in Benin City, Nigeria, has served at her current post at Kentucky State since 2005. She joined the university as an associate professor in 1998, and became a tenured professor of speech and communication four years later. On her way to becoming associate provost, she held positions such as coordinator of student publications; coordinator of the area of speech, theatre and communication; coordinator of faculty advising; acting dean of the College of Business and Computer Science; chair of the Graduate Council and interim director of Graduate Studies; and interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. She has also served as accreditation liaison since 2007. Her many accomplishments at her current post include leading the university’s centennial reaffirmation process in 2009 and working closely with faculty and staff to develop the Quality Enhancement Plan.

Ufomata’s education includes bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a master’s degree and doctorate in phonetics at the University College London.

Deborah J. Curtis

Dr. Deborah Curtis
Deborah Curtis

Curtis dedicated more than 10 years to teaching public school children in Illinois before she began her higher education career at Illinois State University in 1986. Continually progressing in her role and service, she  became dean of the College of Education in 2006 after serving at other positions that include one year as interim dean of the college and four years as director of Clinical Experiences and Certification Processes and the Cecilia J. Lauby Teacher Education Center. She came to the university as an assistant professor of education, and became a professor in 1998. Her leadership and commitment to the assessment of student learning has enabled her college to earn national accreditations, enhance grants and external funding for the college and university, increase the number of tenure-track faculty, and build international connections. 

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

Finalists were selected after an off-campus interview process Jan. 30-31 that included seven candidates. Selections were made from an initial pool that included 61 individuals. The university is working with Garry Owens, Ph.D., senior consultant with the Association of Governing Boards in Washington, D.C., to conduct this nationwide search.

UCM will fill a position currently held by George Wilson, provost and chief learning officer, who announced in August 2011, that he plans to retire, effective June 30, 2012. Wilson has served the university for 39 years.