Provost to step down at the end of the 2021-22 academic year

Provost to step down at the end of the 2021-22 academic year
Monday, August 30, 2021

Joan F. Lorden, UNC Charlotte’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs since 2003, has announced her intention to step down upon the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year. 

Lorden has dedicated herself during a period of tremendous University growth to progress and programs that serve students, the institution and the greater Charlotte community. 

Included among the University's achievements during her time as chief academic officer are the establishment of the College of Arts + Architecture, the Office of Undergraduate Education, the Institute for Social Capital, the Levine Scholars Program, the School of Data Science, the Office of Undergraduate Research and the School of Professional Studies. In addition, 13 doctoral programs were launched, the number of doctoral graduates quadrupled, and research funding doubled.

“Provost Lorden’s impact on UNC Charlotte over nearly two decades cannot be overstated or adequately captured,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “She is the longest-serving provost in the UNC System, and she holds the respect and admiration of her colleagues in North Carolina and throughout the country. Over the coming year, we will continue to celebrate her many accomplishments.” 

Professional and personal milestones include:

  • The University received the APLU Award for Student Success as the result of Lorden’s leadership for an effort to raise the 6-year graduation rate from under 50% in the early 2000s to higher than 65% today. Under her direction, an interdivisional Student Success Working Group developed a multipronged graduation initiative to reduce barriers to progression and graduation, implement a proactive advising system and create a semester-long academic engagement class for incoming freshmen. 
  • Lorden, a neuroscientist and the principal investigator for the UNC Charlotte NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant, directed the establishment of programs to support the progress of women faculty in STEM areas, which led to the development of the ADVANCE Faculty Affairs and Diversity Office
  • A champion for campus diversity and inclusion, she led the development and implementation of UNC Charlotte’s initial Campus Plan for Diversity, Access, and Inclusion
  • To increase the University’s footprint in the community, Lorden supported the development of a Civic Action Plan for the University and reorganized the Office of Metropolitan Studies into the Office of Urban Research and Community Engagement. 
  • In 2016, she was named the Charlotte Woman of the Year for her contributions to UNC Charlotte and her active community support and leadership with a number of organizations, including the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, Discovery Place, the Echo Foundation, the Women’s Impact Fund, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation. 

Read Lorden’s memo announcing her decision.

More information is forthcoming in regard to a search to name Lorden’s replacement.