CMU picks Michael Gealt as next provost, will take over for Gary Shapiro Aug. 1

On April 24, Dr. Michael Gealt speaks on behalf of his experiences at the University of Arkansas as Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics during the Provost Forum in the Bovee University Centers Ausable Room. (File Photo by Melissa Bloem)

Central Michigan University announced Monday Michael Gealt of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will succeed Gary Shapiro as its next provost.

Gealt, the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics and professor of biology at UALR since 2006, will take over for Shapiro on Aug. 1. He will receive an annual salary of $264,000, compared to Shapiro’s $254,000 salary.

“Dr. Gealt is a champion of excellent teaching, strong connectivity with students and cross-campus research endeavors,” President George Ross said in a news release. “I am confident he will continue to advance CMU’s academic agenda, supporting a world-class learning and teaching environment for our students and faculty.”

As provost, Gealt is charged with overseeing academics at CMU. He will be the university’s second-highest ranking official in the administration following Ross.

“I am extremely happy to be joining Central Michigan University at this exciting time in its history,” Gealt said in the release. “I will work with members of the university community to make CMU a place where student learning and success continue to be the highest priorities while also improving opportunities for faculty and student scholarship.”

Gealt has over 40 years of academic experience and has taught and held top positions at Purdue University Calumet and Drexel University.

He graduated from Temple University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Rutgers University in 1974.

At an open forum in April, Gealt stressed the need for open communication and a new focus on retention and recruitment at CMU.

“We’ve had problems bringing students in,” Gealt said last month. “It needs to be on a university level. Growing the university is everyone’s concern. But once students are on board, we need to be able to retain them.”

Shapiro announced his retirement last September and said he will return to teaching in 2014 after taking a year off.