New Provost appointed

Dr. Zhang is a highly productive and recognized scholar who brings to Kettering a rare combination of scholarly achievement, administrative acumen and industry experience.”

Kettering University has appointed Dr. James Zhang as the University’s new Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Zhang will replace Dr. Robert Simpson, who announced his retirement last year.

“Dr. Zhang is a highly productive and recognized scholar who brings to Kettering a rare combination of scholarly achievement, administrative acumen and industry experience,” said Kettering University President Dr. Robert McMahan. “Dr. Zhang will be an exceptional Provost. He is committed to Kettering’s mission, vision and values and throughout his career has been a passionate advocate for experiential education. His colleagues consistently praise his approachability, his collaborative and inclusive nature, and his ability to bring fresh approaches to challenges - all of which will make him an ideal fit at Kettering.”

Zhang has been the Dean of The Kimmel School at Western Carolina University since 2012 and has been an Electrical Engineering faculty member at the university since 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Hunan University, a master’s degree from Indiana University in Telecommunications and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Purdue University, both in Electrical Engineering. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 publications and holds seven U.S. and international patents.

“I am extremely excited to join Kettering University and work with the outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni,” Zhang said. “The University truly has a remarkable track record of producing exceptional graduates prepared to solve global challenges and excel in leadership positions in industry. I’m passionate about Kettering’s ability to harness the power of experiential learning and am committed to enhance Kettering’s endeavors to deliver a world class STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Business education to its students.”

Zhang was selected from among three finalists after an extensive national search process that included input from a broad cross section of the Kettering University community including faculty, staff, and students.

“I am proud of the thoughtful nature of the search committee’s deliberations and their dedication and outstanding effort. I thank them for their work and for bringing this very important search to such a successful and positive conclusion,” McMahan said.

Zhang will start at Kettering on June 1, 2014. Simpson will stay on through the end of June to assist in the transition process. Simpson has served as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Kettering since September of 2010. He also previously served in that same role at Kettering on an interim basis in 2006-07.

“Dr. Simpson has served Kettering University with dedication and commitment through two tenures with the University,” McMahan said. “He has played an integral part in our success and has played a key role in steering Kettering toward a bright future. He will continue to be a tremendous asset to Kettering and to Dr. Zhang through the transition.”