University Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Morris Stocks will step down from his administrative role at the start of the spring semester. Earlier this month, the university announced Stocks will return to his faculty position Jan. 1, teaching and working with students in the classroom.
Stocks served as provost and executive vice chancellor for nine years and as an administrator for 17. He joined the university faculty in 1991 and was the Elise M. Hood Outstanding Teacher in 1998.
“The university has provided me with an absolutely rewarding professional career, and I look forward to continuing to contribute to our mission as a faculty member,” Stocks said.
He said over the last nine years, countless dedicated, bright and industrious people have worked to make many wonderful things happen on campus.
“As provost, I have been privileged and blessed to be a part of the process,” Stocks said.
At the end of the Stocks era, the provost reflected on the changes he has seen in his tenure at the university. He said the most noticeable changes were increased enrollment and an improved physical campus. Stocks is also proud of the campus’ increased diversity, he said.
“We continue to grow and increase the number of truly excellent educational opportunities for our students,” Stocks said. “I won’t attempt to list all of those exceptional academic programs because I would undoubtedly fail to mention one or two.”
Stocks said serving as provost gave him a chance to observe the remarkable and transformative things happening on campus every day. He also looked back on the challenges he faced these last nine years.
“I am not sure that the challenges we faced in recent years are very different from those faced by other public universities,” he said.
Stocks said the university has been successful in meeting those challenges to date. He said the university has grown to address a changing higher education landscape without sacrificing affordable tuition or faculty quality.
Stocks said with the help of Vice Chancellor Larry Sparks, the university increased its academic budgets by 50 percent over nine years.
“That is a remarkable accomplishment during a period of difficult economic times,” Stocks said.
Chancellor Jeffery Vitter announced that Senior Associate Provost Noel Wilkin will serve as interim provost and executive vice chancellor until the university finishes its national search for a permanent replacement.
Stocks said he worked side-by-side with Wilkin for nine years and has absolute confidence in his ability.
“[Wilkin] deserves much of the credit for the progress we have made as a university,” Stocks said. “He is a man of character and integrity, strong academic vision, unbelievable energy, and he loves our university.”