Tom Ormond of Darton State College was named the new University of North Georgia provost by UNG President Bonita Jacobs on March 30.
Ormond is currently interim provost at Darton State College, a temporary position from Georgia College and State University, where he was senior associate provost for academic affairs and director of graduate programs. Though the DSC, GCSU and UNG campus environments are very different, Ormond expects a smooth transition because of the great people at UNG, he said.
“The common thread among the three is the great people that make up each institution. Faculty, staff and students will be the key trigger to my smooth transition at UNG,” he said.
Ormond said he looks forward to coming to UNG during “this very exciting growth phase.” He looks less forward to the first week of being the new person on campus and settling into a new community, he said. His first priority his first day on the job will be to walk around campus and say hi to everyone he meets, Ormond said.
“Given the separation of campuses, I will need five first days on the job, but I will do it,” he said.
The UNG mission statement lines up with his own education philosophy in several ways, Ormond said. He wants UNG’s environment to be a model of academic excellence, Ormond said. He wants an environment that will encourage student success, Ormond said.
” I want UNG students to be immersed in a student-centered environment… in which students will interact with faculty that stress multiple and diverse perspectives, to help them develop skills, attitudes, and dispositions they will take well beyond graduation,” Ormond said.
He supports the military focus at UNG, Ormond said. He supervised the Military Science program at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania, and he has seen the benefits of military school firsthand as his son is enrolled at Georgia Military College Preparatory School, Ormond said.
In regards to UNG’s strategic plan, Ormond said he would need to understand how the plan impacts the UNG community, then work closely with deans and directors to determine the best ways of meeting the goals stated in the plan. Making sure resources are properly allocated and that the academic affairs department has open, structured discussions are critical steps, Ormond said.
Improving student success would start with “quality academic programs that capture students motivation,” Ormond said. Faculty must have ongoing professional discipline to improve their knowledge and therefore student learning, he said. Also needed are better student advisement, learning support programs and a checks-and-balances system to ensure students will graduate on time, Ormond said.
Developing healthy relationships with students, faculty and staff will require openness, honesty and consistency, Ormond said. He hopes that people will soon get to know him and see his commitment to developing a civil campus environment, he said. Similarly, he hopes to have a presence in Dahlonega, Gainesville, Cumming, Oconee and Blue Ridge, showcasing UNG’s positive impact on each town.
Everyone on campus has a role in expanding campus diversity at UNG, Ormond said. However, the roles of the Office of Academic Affairs is to establish student enrollment and retention markers and guidelines for hiring faculty, mentor activities for faculty and help faculty with strategies to blend diversity into programs of study, he said.
“Our challenge is to prepare UNG students to be productive citizens when they leave this institution, and immersing students in a diverse campus is one major step toward that end,” Ormond said.
Jacobs said Ormond is a creative and forward looking leader who shares UNG’s commitment to academic excellence and success, she said in her official statement.
“I am confident that he will provide vision and perspective to sustain the momentum we have built and advance the goals of our strategic plan,” Jacobs also said in the official statement. “Additionally, he has a strong track record of collaboration and a reputation as an effective leader who listens carefully and considers a diverse range of views. I look forward to working closely with Tom, and I hope you will join me in offering him a warm welcome to UNG.”
Jacobs could not be reached for any further comments.
Mark Spraker, provost search committee chair and physics professor, said Ormond was one of three top finalist candidates sent by the search committee to the president. The other two were Jerry Hale of the College of Charleston and Richard Oates of UNG.
Though a few minor disagreements arose in the selection process, the committee showed “surprising unanimity” in the selection process, Spraker said. The top three finalists were set apart by their success in senior academic positions and familiarity with UNG’s issues, Spraker said.
In particular, Ormond has a history of success in Georgia and understands the University System of Georgia, Spraker also said.
“Dr. Ormond is committed to student success and has a deep understanding of both graduate programs and the access mission. He has also worked within a consolidated institution and understands the issues that arise from consolidation as well as the importance of respecting the various cultures within a newly created university,” Spraker said.
Ormond will begin as provost on July 11, 2016, according to the president’s official statement.