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


University Members Assume New Posts Following Organizational Assessment

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (June 27, 2011) – Following a comprehensive administrative review process at the University of Central Missouri, President Charles Ambrose has announced the appointment of six individuals to key leadership positions designed to help the university better serve students.

Information about these positions was provided to the campus community during a recent public forum to discuss the administrative review and how it applies to the institution’s Strategic Governance Model for Student Success. Development of the model began during the fall 2010 semester, and has included the creation of a new model for strategic resources with components such as the administrative review and the academic review. The administrative review, which will save the institution more than $2 million in Fiscal Year 2012, was completed June 1 following a process that began in early March and involved campus-wide input. The academic review was initiated during the fall semester and resulted in $612,000 in savings for the upcoming year.

“As part of the administrative review, we conducted an organizational assessment with a goal to provide a new structure for delivering administrative support to academics. We are confident that the leadership changes that are being made as the result of this effort will help the university meet our goal to better serve students and continue to move UCM forward,” Ambrose said.

The leadership changes include assigning five longtime university personnel to new positions as follows: John Merrigan to vice president for finance (chief operations officer); Jim Graham to vice provost for technology; Shari Bax to vice provost for student experience/engagement; Mike Grelle to vice provost for institutional effectiveness/assessment; and Rick Sluder to vice provost for enrollment management. The president named Dennis Cryder to a temporary post as chief communications officer. Bas begins her duties Aug. 1, and the other assignments are effective July 1.

In addition to these appointments, recruitment efforts are under way for a new vice president for advancement/executive director of the foundation and an assistant vice president for human resources/diversity. These individuals will serve as members of the president’s cabinet along with the president, provost and chief learning officer, general counsel, executive assistant to the president, athletic director, and executive director for facilities, planning and operations.

Individuals named to new posts bring a wealth of education, business and industry experience to their positions.

A licensed certified public accountant, John Merrigan worked for companies such as the international audit, tax and consulting firm, Arthur Andersen & Co., and the nationally known Fortune 500 pharmaceutical manufacturer Marion Merrell Dow prior to beginning work at UCM more than nine years ago. While at MMD, he completed his Master of Business Administration degree at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. Since coming to UCM, he has served as investment manager, assistant to the chief financial officer, controller and treasurer. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCM in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Jim Graham has used his knowledge of technology and computer systems in higher education for approximately 25 years, having worked at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, and Barton County Community College in Great Bend, KS, prior to joining UCM in 2000. He has served since 2010 as chief information officer, and held previous positions as director of information technology systems, and assistant director of user services. His educational background includes a doctorate  in educational leadership and policy analysis, University of Missouri-Columbia; master’s degree in communication, Fort Hays State University, Hays,  KS; and bachelor’s degree in business administration, Kansas Newman College, Wichita,  where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.  

Working as an academic consultant with groups such as Missouri Boys State and Girls State, Shari Bax has gained experience working with high school students as well as university students while serving on the faculty since 1997. This year, she was promoted to professor in the Department of Political Science, where she also serves as internship coordinator. Bax has become an expert source on Missouri and national political issues, having been quoted in media ranging from The Kansas City Star to Wall Street Journal. Educated in Tennessee, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of the South, Sewanee, and master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Mike Grelle, who twice co-chaired the university’s successful reaccreditation efforts by the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission, brings 34 years of experience as a UCM educator and administrator to his post. He joined the university in 1977 as an instructor in the Department of Psychology, and became professor in 1992. Two years later, he was named director of assessment and testing services and later became interim director of institutional research. This was followed by an appointment to associate provost for academic programs and services in 2005. Grelle earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and master’s degree and Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University, Dekalb.  

Rick Sluder, who holds the rank of professor and has provided leadership in enrollment management this spring, came to the university in 1992 as a faculty member in the Department of Criminal Justice. He became associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services in 1999, interim dean in 2003, and dean in 2007. In this capacity, he provided leadership for UCM's fastest growing college that produced more degrees than any other, and was a leader in the development of online degree programs and course offerings. Sluder’s education includes a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Truman State University, Kirksville; master’s degree from Truman in human resources management; and Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.

Dennis Cryder is an Indianapolis, Ind. resident and former NCAA senior vice president for branding and communications, who has worked on a consulting basis with the university since December 2010 to help identify and achieve key marketing and communication objectives. His career includes serving seven years establishing NCAA Productions, the NCAA’s film/video division, followed by 13 years with the Kansas City Royals, where he was the vice president of marketing and broadcasting. He left the Royals in 1997 and returned to the NCAA to create a new marketing, licensing and promotion department for the national association. In that capacity, he was the lead negotiator and strategist in crafting the NCAA’s $6 billion, 11-year bundled rights agreement with CBS Television Network. Cryder left his position at NCAA in August 2010, and established The Cryder Rinebold Company LLC, which offers clients branding, strategic communications and events professional services.