SRU announces new appointments for Zieg and Dafoe


Campus sign with flowers

Slippery Rock University has announced two administrative personnel changes from the Provost’s Office, effective Jan. 3, 2022. Michael Zieg will become associate provost for academic finance, strategic initiatives and assessment, and Nicole Dafoe will become interim dean of the College of Health, Engineering and Sciences.

Nov. 15, 2021

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University has appointed Michael Zieg as associate provost for academic finance, strategic initiatives and assessment, effective Jan. 3, 2022. Zieg currently serves as SRU's interim dean of the College of Health, Engineering and Sciences, a role that he has been in since August 2019 after serving as a faculty member at the University beginning in 2003.



As associate provost, Zieg will be responsible for academic budgeting, overseeing the implementation of SRU's strategic plan, coordinating assessment and accreditation activities, and working with academic departments and colleges on research, grants, improving processes and other special projects.

"We're really grateful to have someone who has been a faculty member, a department chair and a dean on this campus, who can bring insider experience to serve our office and the University," said Abbey Zink, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Michael is very thoughtful, data-informed and he brings a collaborative approach to this role, having worked well across multiple divisions of the University. During his time as interim dean, he led positive initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion efforts in science, technology, engineering and math, and he helped launch our engineering programs and new health professions programs. But most of all, he cares deeply about our students, and to me, that's the No. 1 trait that he brings to this role."

Prior to becoming an administrator, Zieg was a professor of geography, geology and environment. As a former principal investigator on several research projects, Zieg enjoys working with data and he said he looks forward to assembling data to support academic decision making.

"I'm really excited about being more involved in the strategic direction of the University and having the time to get the academic decision-makers the information they need to more effectively do their jobs," Zieg said. "I'm going to miss the daily interaction with students, but my hope is that by doing my new job well, I will make a positive difference for many more students. By improving how the University operates, I can improve the student experience, even if I'm not in the classroom with them."



Nicole Dafoe, associate professor of biology and department chair, will replace Zieg as interim dean in January 2022 and will serve in that role until two news deans are hired for the College of Engineering and Science and the new College of Health Professions. SRU's current configuration of four colleges will become five colleges starting in fall 2022, following the recent approval of the creation of CHP.

"Nicole is the perfect person to lead during this transition," Zink said. "She's helped revise the biology curriculum, she's very student-centered and she works well with everybody across the college."

"I'm excited to serve the college as we navigate the opportunities and challenges that will come with this transition," Dafoe said. "During my tenure at the University, I have been in the unique position of leading a department that has undergone a period of rapid evolution. While I am certain that there is much to learn, I look forward to listening, asking questions, sharing my experience and leading with the students and faculty in mind."

In addition to Zieg's and Dafoe's appointments, SRU will also conduct a search later this academic year for an associate provost for academic inclusive excellence and experiential learning. That position will include many of the duties performed by Brad Wilson, the former associate provost for academic affairs and integrated learning who retired earlier this year, but with a greater focus on inclusive excellence and diversity, equity and inclusion.

"Combined, all of these changes to the organization of the Provost's Office will reflect the University's strategic vision, in terms of academic and inclusive excellence," Zink said.

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