Third Candidate for the President of Emporia State University
Karla Hughes has been provost, vice president for academic affairs and tenured professor at Morehead State University (MSU) since July 2007 where she oversees an operating budget in excess of $80 million and leads 650 faculty and staff. After her arrival she introduced initiatives that have recently resulted in an all-time-high total enrollment of 10,235 – a 16 percent increase. These initiatives included approval of an early college program, the first doctoral program in education, as well as authorizing design of a terminal degree program in nursing practice. She is also the chair of the Kentucky Public Universities Provosts’ Council.
This native Kansan has been a student, and/or held academic appointments, at the Universities of Missouri and Tennessee (Ph.D. in Animal Science), as well as at East Carolina, Kansas State (BS/MS in Nutrition), Middle Tennessee State, and Virginia Polytechnic and State Universities. In addition, she developed professional, working relationships with five, 1890, historically black, land-grant institutions which no doubt contributed to the Provost’s well-documented commitment to diversity and its benefits for students, faculty, and staff. Professor Hughes spent most of 2005 and 2006 as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in the Office of the President of the University of North Carolina System.
Thirty months after her appointment as dean at East Carolina University (ECU), the professor was, in addition, appointed interim dean of a second School. Within 18 months of the additional appointment, following a unanimous vote of approval by both faculties, the Schools were merged to form the fourth largest and most diverse College on campus consisting of two Institutes, five Departments, and a School. Subsequently the College received approval to implement the first, anywhere, Ph.D. in Medical Family Therapy. Its Institute of Tourism is now receiving extramural funding and has become a University Center for Sustainable Tourism, and the $5.1 million Carolyn Freeze Baynes Institute of Social Justice began publishing Social Justice in Context, a peer reviewed journal. And this coalition builder introduced the concept and led the efforts to create the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center, a partnership between the College, the City of Greenville, Pitt Community College, and community partners who benefit from these services regardless of age, race, creed, religion, economic status, or educational level. As of July 2010, the IGCC had served 16,000 low income and underserved clientele.
For six years Professor Hughes chaired the most diverse department at Middle Tennessee State University that was governed by six, outside accrediting agencies including the Tennessee Department of Education. Because of the complexity of the department, as well as the number of different programs, Dr. Hughes was able to implement her vision through shared and collaborative governance.
In Kansas and Missouri she held Cooperative Extension / outreach appointments. In Missouri these included responsibilities at the four campuses that made up the land-grant university system, including Agricultural Experiment Station Research and joint academic appointments within the Colleges of Agriculture, as well as Human Environmental Sciences. Statewide food-safety responsibilities required that she also report to the Dean of the College Veterinary Science. Her alternative agricultural programming was recognized as one of the 10 best in the annual report of the University of Missouri-System president; and, she was the recipient of Missouri’s highest award presented to a campus-based Extension specialist.
After presiding over a national council of administrators, Professor Hughes completed a two-year term as chair of Kappa Omicron Nu National, Honorary Scholarship and Leadership Society. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and is, or has been, active within international, professional, and service organizations such as Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and the international Community Development Society. The Provost received the 2008 Distinguished Service Award from the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University.
As an assistant professor, Karla Hughes made a deliberate decision to conscientiously prepare herself for leadership in the Academy, including the development of skills needed to implement difficult decisions after thoughtful consideration. She felt that one of the best ways to do so was to experience, and/or become proficient in, as many of the duties and responsibilities of the faculty and staff who she might someday be privileged to lead and serve. After mastering traditional classroom, as well as adult-education, outreach and teaching, she became a proficient grants writer (extracurricular funding $4.4 million) to support research as well as educational programs. The Provost has since published in, and served as a reviewer for, a variety of peer-reviewed journals while serving on several editorial boards. And in addition to chairing promotion and tenure, as well as faculty governance and policy committees at the college level, she has also served on the executive committee of a university faculty senate.
The provost and her husband, L. R. Hughes, look forward to visiting Emporia and the Emporia State University campus.