Godard Named Southeast Provost


Dr. Michael P. Godard

Dr. Michael P. Godard, interim provost-chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) at Warrensburg, Missouri, has been named provost at Southeast Missouri State University.

Godard was one of four finalists who visited the campus April 22-May 2 following a nationwide search in which more than 50 candidates were reviewed. Following the finalists’ campus visits and open forums, the Provost Search Committee reconvened to consider evaluations and input provided as part of the process before submitting a summary of its deliberations to Southeast President Carlos Vargas.

Godard will begin his new duties July 1, 2019.

“We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Godard to the Southeast community,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “With the rapidly evolving higher education landscape, Southeast must quickly adapt to changing dynamics. Dr. Godard brings with him a wealth of leadership experience that will help us strategize new educational delivery models and innovative academic programs to meet workforce demands and the needs of today’s students. During his visit to campus, Dr. Godard clearly articulated collaboration, visionary thinking, transparency, communication and listening as keys to effective leadership. We look forward to Dr. Godard sharing his skills with us at Southeast.”

The provost is the chief academic officer at the University and is responsible for the overall administration and promotion of academic excellence in the faculty and academic programs of the University and for providing leadership for the University’s academic departments and colleges, as well as Kent Library. The provost also is a member of the University President’s Executive Staff.

“Southeast is an institution that values students and their success. The focus on student-centered education and experiential learning along with working with the talented faculty and staff who are committed to academic excellence is what attracted me to Southeast,” Godard said.

“Being a first-generation college student myself, I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that each student has the opportunity to be successful. I share in Southeast’s commitment to ensuring that there is access to affordable high-quality education and a commitment to excellence both curricular and co-curricular programs,” he added. “I feel that through my positive approach, enthusiasm and dedication along with my professional experiences, I can have a positive impact in an energetic and collegial way.”

During his first six to 12 months at Southeast, Godard said he plans on getting out across campus and in the community and building relationships with both internal and external constituents.

“I envision us expanding on the strong foundation that Academic Affairs has at Southeast, and, in a collaborative and transparent way, I want us to look for strategic ways to enhance the academic excellence and expand in high demand areas to continue to provide the region, state, nation and world with even more highly competent and talented graduates,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for President Vargas and want to thank him for his confidence in me to serve in this position. I have always been impressed with Southeast, and I am thrilled to now be a Redhawk!”

Godard has served as interim provost-chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri since January 2018, where he oversees Academic Affairs and Chief Learning Officer Divisions, including four colleges and a library. He also is responsible for four vice provost areas, including academic programs and services, student experience and engagement, enrollment management and extended studies. He is a member of the President’s Cabinet, a member of the Missouri Department of Higher Education Council of Chief Academic Officers and a liaison to Faculty Senate.

Godard, who is a professor of exercise science, previously served two years as vice provost for enrollment management and student success and three years as chair of the Department of Nutrition & Kinesiology, both at the University of Central Missouri. During his seven-year tenure at UCM, Godard facilitated and implemented several major campus initiatives, including a partnership with Education Advisory Board (EAB) that resulted in the implementation of a Student Success Collaborative and Academic Performance Solutions. Godard also helped to spearhead the creation of a new student success continuum with the launch of a one-stop Success Advising Center; a reorganization of all academic departments into schools within four academic colleges; a Learning to a Greater Degree campaign for students; and a 15 to Finish retention and completion campaign that provides $1,000 to students who maintain a course load of 15 credit hours per semester by their senior year.

Prior to his time at the University of Central Missouri, Godard was associate professor and assistant professor of exercise physiology at Western Illinois University; adjunct faculty, assistant professor of exercise physiology, director of the Applied Physiology Laboratory and faculty associate in the Gerontology Center at the University of Kansas, where he also was an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He has held research and faculty positions at the University of Southern Maine and was a doctoral fellow in the Human Performance Laboratory and an instructor in the School of Physical Education at Ball State University.

He has been director of the Cardiology Stress Laboratories at Beth Israel Medical Center and an exercise physiologist in the Nuclear Cardiology Department in the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, both in New York City.

Over a three-year period, he served as president-elect, president and past president of the Central States American College of Sports Medicine. He also has been associate director of the Western Illinois University Honors College; president of the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine; research faculty associate with the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research; founding research fellow with the Lifespan Institute; and a mentor in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Leadership and Diversity Training Program. He also has been a member of the board of directors of the Midwest American College of Sports Medicine, and, since 2006, has been a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Godard has served on numerous councils and committees at both UCM and his prior institutions, and over his career has taught a range of exercise science and human physiology courses. He also has mentored many post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students. He has been successful in securing grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, among others, and has several publications to his credit.

Godard holds a doctoral degree in human bioenergetics (physiology) from Ball State University; a Master of Arts in exercise physiology from Adelphi University; and a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Castleton University.

Godard and his wife, Kathryn, are the parents of two sons, Grant, 18, and Lance, 16.