SRU names Michael Zieg provost and vice president for academic affairs


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Michael Zieg, Slippery Rock University’s interim provost since April 2022, had his interim status removed as he was the successful candidate in SRU’s nationwide search for a provost.

Nov. 28, 2023

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Following an extensive national search process, Slippery Rock University has named Michael Zieg as provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective immediately. Zieg has served in the interim role since April 2022.

In this new permanent role, Zieg is responsible for developing and implementing academic plans, policies and priorities. He will work closely with faculty, administrators, staff and students to ensure that SRU is achieving the highest standards in teaching, scholarship, services and creative activities within and beyond the classroom.

"Dr. Zieg has an impressive academic record and an administrative record that includes working successfully across constituent groups," said Karen Riley, SRU president. "His proven commitment to students and to ensure academic excellence is laudable, and his ethical approach serves as an exemplar in administration."

Zieg spent the last 20 years of his career at SRU, starting as a professor of geography, geology and the environment in 2003. He took on administrative roles, including department chair from 2013-17, interim dean of the College of Health, Engineering and Science from 2019-21, and associate provost for academic planning, budget and strategic initiatives in 2022, before becoming interim provost.

"SRU has been my professional home for my entire career, and I recognize what an honor it is to continue working with such great colleagues in a special community like Slippery Rock," Zieg said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to work alongside President Riley, pursuing the goals and vision she is setting for the University. I'm also excited to collaborate with the deans, administrators, faculty and staff as we continue building on SRU's tradition of academic excellence."

He earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in 1994 and a doctoral degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, before serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science.

A strong pool of more than 70 applicants included current deans, associate provosts and provosts at institutions from across the country, ranging from small private colleges to regional public universities. Four candidates were selected for on-campus interviews and the campus community was invited to engage in the search process.

"Dr. Zieg possesses so many of the qualities that are right for SRU," said Jason Hilton, professor of education and president of SRU-APSCUF, the University's faculty union. "He has extensive experience at SRU as a faculty member and as an administrator at many levels. He shows an unending love of teaching and scholarship as well as a desire for the best academic experience for all of our students. He consistently has demonstrated the ability to navigate the challenges that SRU faces, and he always bears an overall orientation to do what is right, no matter how hard. We are excited to see Dr. Zieg appointed as the provost of Slippery Rock University and SRU-APSCUF looks forward to continuing to work with Dr. Zieg to ensure that SRU delivers on a promise of a high-quality education at the lowest possible price."

"This is a critical leadership position for the University, and I appreciate everyone who contributed to the search process," said Riley, who made the decision to select Zieg.

In particular, Riley thanked Brenda Beatty, administrative assistant in the Enrollment Management Office; Paige Mennor, administrative assistant in the Finance and Administration Office; Betsy Strawbridge, employment manager; and Lisa Weinzetl, director of special events, for their contributions to the search, as well as the search committee members:

  • Carrie Birckbichler (co-chair), vice president for finance and administration. 
  • Amanda Yale (co-chair), chief enrollment management officer. 
  • Michelle Amodei, associate professor of elementary and early childhood. 
  • Penny Dean, administrative assistant, College of Education. 
  • Victoria Kapopoulos, assistant director of community-engaged learning. 
  • Kristine Karshin, dean, College of Health Professions. 
  • Mohammad Kazemi, associate professor of physics and engineering. 
  • Kevin McCarthy, director of analytics and decision support. 
  • Christophas Walker, associate professor of social work. 
  • Sydney Rezzetano, a senior dual finance and economics major.
  • Search advocate: Scott Irlbacher, director of student conduct. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854  |