State University of New York Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander Cartwright was announced as MU’s next chancellor Wednesday afternoon during a press conference in the Reynolds Alumni Center.
He was introduced by UM System President Mun Choi and was welcomed by a reception hall full of faculty, students and administrators, including the UM System Board of Curators and the Chancellor Search Committee as well as special guests such as Columbia mayor Brian Treece.
Cartwright will begin his position on Aug. 1 and will be the first person to hold the position permanently since November 2015, when Hank Foley was appointed interim chancellor following R. Bowen Loftin’s resignation. Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Garnett Stokes assumed the interim chancellor position earlier this month after Foley announced he will be leaving MU for the president position at the New York Institute of Technology.
Cartwright has a background in education, as he was a professor of electrical engineering and adjunct professor of physics at the University at Buffalo prior to stepping into administrative positions in 2014 with the SUNY system. He earned his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Iowa.
In his speech, Cartwright spoke about the unconventional route he took through his education. He received a GED as opposed to a traditional high school diploma, then began his college career at Kirkwood Community College before finishing his undergraduate degree at Iowa when he was 24.
Cartwright said his own educational experience has impacted his outlook on how colleges should accommodate students’ needs.
“I see a lot in the literature where people talk about students being college-ready, but I think we need to spend much more time talking about institutions being student-ready,” Cartwright said in the press conference. “We need to be knowing what is it that students need, and we need to provide those services.”
One of his plans for making college more accessible for all students, he said, is to promote the use of online textbooks and resources, which he said will make classes more affordable.
"I'm going to try this for the first time," Cartwright said before he chanted "M-I-Z!" to the audience's excited response, "Z-O-U!" pic.twitter.com/tAJPfQqcZU— The Maneater (@TheManeater) May 24, 2017
Before he makes any major decisions, however, Cartwright said he will “spend a lot of time listening” in order to identify university needs.
When he takes on the chancellor position later this summer, Cartwright will be facing a budget deficit that includes a nearly $17 million cut to MU’s general operating fund, as well as a steep 16.6 percent freshman enrollment decline. He knows he will have to make difficult decisions to address these issues.
“Whatever we’re doing … we want to ensure that we are investing in our strengths,” he said. “There’s really going to be some tough decisions, but the tough decisions are to ensure that Mizzou is sustainable, and not only sustainable, but vibrant.”
Cartwright, who according to the SUNY website had administrative responsibilities that included diversity and inclusion initiatives, said reinforcing diversity is important in order to prepare students for a global workforce.
During his time at SUNY, Cartwright said he followed both the events that took place on MU’s campus in November of 2015, as well as the administration's response.
“Missouri showed what all great institutions show, and that is you learn from what happened and you then adjust,” he said.
Choi said Cartwright’s salary is set at $485,000 with a car allowance of $15,000 and a longevity incentive of $25,000 that will be redeemed at the end of five years in his position.
Edited by Zia Kelly | firstname.lastname@example.org