Karl R. Kunkel Named Provost

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Dr. Karl R. Kunkel (credit: Pittsburg State University)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 18, 2015 – Dr. Karl R. Kunkel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Pittsburg State University, has been named provost at Southeast Missouri State University.

Through a nationwide search, 110 candidates were reviewed.  Kunkel was one of five finalists who visited the campus for interviews in late October.

Kunkel will begin his new duties February 15, 2016, at a salary of $190,000.   He will succeed Southeast Interim Provost Gerald McDougall who will return to his position as associate provost of Extended and Online Learning, dean of the Harrison College of Business and executive director of the Missouri Innovation Corporation.

“We are extremely pleased that Dr. Kunkel will be joining the Southeast community,” said Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “He brings to us a significant breadth of knowledge and extensive leadership experience in higher education.   We believe he will be a tremendous asset in building on the success of our academic programs. We look forward to welcoming him into the Southeast community.”

The provost is Southeast’s chief academic officer and is responsible for nine colleges and schools at the University: the Donald L. Harrison College of Business, College of Education, College of Health and Human Services, College of Liberal Arts, College of Science, Technology and Agriculture, School of Extended Learning, School of Graduate Studies, School of University Studies and the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts.

“I am humbled, honored, and very excited about the confidence expressed by President Vargas, the search committee, and the Southeast Missouri State community through their invitation for me to serve as the next provost,” Kunkel said.  “I look forward to working with Dr. Vargas, Southeast faculty, staff, students, administrators, and other stakeholders as we honor past accomplishments of the institution and work toward the University’s next chapter continuing to pursue excellence in student success and making Southeast the first choice of students and faculty in our region.”

While looking at Southeast’s strategic plan, Kunkel said he felt it was apparent the university is focused on students and student success, and that attracted him to the position.

“The idea of being provost at Southeast Missouri State University is very exciting to me,” Kunkel said. “I’m very comfortable in Missouri. I understand the funding mechanisms, the state-level structure of higher education, and the challenges faced.  I also believe universities such as Southeast are vital for society because we change and transform lives.  These all are reasons I find this provost position very attractive.”

Kunkel has served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of sociology and justice studies at Pittsburg State since 2011.  Pittsburg State is located in Pittsburg, Kan., about 30 miles northwest of Joplin, Mo.

He previously served for 17 years at Missouri State University, where he was head of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, and a professor of sociology and criminology, leading faculty in the creation of an undergraduate major and graduate degree in Criminology, including an accelerated master’s degree and online options.

During his career at Pittsburg State, Kunkel has been involved in the development of several new academic programs and initiatives.  He’s led an initiative to create and implement an academic and applied research program in Polymer Chemistry.   The partnership, with the Kansas Polymer Research Center, was supported and funded by the Kansas State Legislature. He also played a central role collaborating with faculty and administrators at Pittsburg State to create and implement the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, the university’s first doctoral-level program, and served as the Pittsburg State faculty athletics representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, including committees for the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

Kunkel holds a doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  He also participated in the American Academic Leadership Institute’s Becoming a Provost Academy, administered through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

He and his wife, Sarah, are the parents of two children.