Welcoming New Staff Members to the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

May 17, 2022

The Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (VPAA) would like to welcome several new staff members to the VPAA team.

Dr. Jackie Grutsch McKinney has been selected as the Director of Immersive Learning and High Impact Practices and will begin her role on August 1st. Dr. Grutsch McKinney begins this administrative role after 19 years as a professor in the English department, where she also served as the Director of the Writing Center. Dr. Grutsch McKinney has a long history of being involved with a variety of high impact practices, faculty development and supervision, programmatic assessment, and budgetary oversight in her faculty position as well as in her role as President of the International Writing Center’s Association. Dr. Grutsch McKinney has published extensively in these areas. As such, she is well-positioned to scale and extend the wonderful work being done in IL to make high impact learning experiences more prevalent and equitable across campus.  She will report to Dr. Kristen McCauliff and oversee the Immersive Learning staff. The VPAA Office would like to express our deepest gratitude to Ms. Suzanne Plesha for her incredible work with Immersive Learning. She will be missed.

Dr. David Call will serve as the Faculty Fellow for the First Year Experience beginning July 5th. David will help to continue the momentum and development of the first-year experience by coordinating first-year experience activities and resources for faculty who will teach pilot first-year seminar courses in the fall.  David is an Associate Professor of Meteorology and Geography. His research bridges meteorology and geography by examining how society deals with hazardous winter weather.  In the spring, David participated in a Faculty Learning Community with faculty who teach in the University Core Curriculum. He will report to Dr. Jason Rivera, Associate Vice Provost for Student Success & Dean of University College.  As we welcome David, we say farewell to Lawrence Brown, Director of the First Year Experience.  We are grateful to Lawrence for his contributions to the development of the first-year seminar, which will help strengthen our student success efforts. We will conduct a search beginning in fall semester of 2022 for a full-time replacement position for Freshman Academic Initiatives.

Dr. Joshua Gruver will serve as Faculty Fellow for Academic Sustainability Initiatives beginning June 20. Dr. Gruver holds the rank of Associate Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Management. Dr. Gruver holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Forest Resources from The Pennsylvania State University, and a B.S. in Biochemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Over the years of his employment at Ball State, his teaching, research, and service activities were focused on sustainability covering a wide spectrum of environmental, social, and economic principles. Among his notable activities is being the lead principal investigator in developing and operating the Muncie Food Hub Partnership (MFHP), which facilitates the robust exchange of fresh and affordable locally grown food in East Central Indiana and provides an opportunity for Ball State Students to be active in the community. He has served as vice chair (2015-17) and chair (2018-2020) of the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District (DCSWCD) board. Dr. Gruver will report to Dr. Tarek Mahfouz, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Operation.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Grutsch McKinney, Dr. Call, and Dr. Gruver to the VPAA team!

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