Brenau Taps Veteran Academic Leader Jim Eck for Provost Post
Dr. James C. Eck, a nationally recognized expert on the nexus of professional teaching and meaningful learning in higher education, will join the administration of Brenau University on June 1 as provost and vice president of academic affairs.
In that role Eck succeeds Dr. Nancy Krippel, who will retire effective July 1. He currently serves as provost at Louisburg College in Louisburg, North Carolina, where he has lived and worked since June 2010.
“Jim Eck will be an excellent leader for the outstanding faculty at Brenau University,” said Ed L. Schrader, president of the institution. “His entire career has been dedicated to continuous improvement to higher education academics through his own teaching, his collegial leadership skill with faculty and curriculum development, and his unparalleled expertise in managing compliance with the most rigid accreditation and certification standards. With his reputation for integrity and professionalism, he has made academic programs better everywhere he has been.”
Schrader said the university picked Eck in a nationwide search to find a replacement for Krippel, who came to Brenau in 2011. The decision followed visits to the campus by Eck and other finalists that included private meetings with some faculty and administrators as well as open forums for students, faculty and staff.
Eck, a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, a Master of Business Administration at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and a Ph.D in higher education at the University of Georgia in Athens. Prior to his term at Louisburg, Eck also served in various posts at Samford and Rollins University in Winter Park, Florida.
In addition to the administrative roles he held at previous posts, he always retained classroom roles as well. Since the beginning of his career, he authored and participated in scores of professional presentations, peer review publications and research projects. And, he engaged during that time in many institutional reviews by accreditation boards and professional organizations.
Eck and his wife, Wendi, have two children: a son, Harrison, 17, and a daughter, Rachel, 15, both of whom are in high school. Outside of work, he devotes most spare time to family activities, including attending performing arts events and a variety of outdoor activities. He confesses to being a college football fan and – virtually required, it seems, for anyone who has lived for any time in Indiana – has been known to “shoot some hoops” in pickup basketball games. Occasionally he plays trumpet and piano. However, he added, “I am not at a place where anyone else would want to hear me play.
“I liked all of the people that I met when I visited Brenau,” Eck said. “I look forward to getting to know and working with the students, the faculty and the administration. Brenau is doing some exciting things in a very collegial environment, and I believe that it is on the right trajectory in the growth of its academic programs.”
He said that he is particularly interested in opportunities to get students more focused on and engaged in their educations and in ensuring the university delivers results-oriented, high-quality programs for those students.
Brenau, like any other institution of higher education, must focus on making education more available to students, providing high-quality programs and controlling costs, he said.
Any component of that equation, however, “cannot work to the detriment of the other two. The academic reputation of Brenau has to be the paramount concern.”