Ern named interim chancellor
Ernest H. Ern, who has served
in many capacities during his 38-year career
U.Va., will become interim chancellor at the College
at Wise, President John
T. Casteen III announced April 14.
Ern, who begins his new role in May, will serve a yearlong
term while the University conducts a search to replace
the College’s outgoing chancellor, Steven
Kaplan, who leaves next month to become president of the University of New Haven.
am delighted Ernie Ern has agreed to take on the chancellorship
at Wise,” Casteen
said. “He will provide steady leadership that will ensure that the College
continues its progress during this year of transition. I am committed to supporting
him in every possible way.”
Kaplan said that he is especially pleased that an interim
chancellor of Ern’s
stature has agreed to lead the Wise campus. “It would be hard to imagine
a better leader for this time when the College will be pursuing reaffirmation
of its accreditation, approval of its new software engineering program and additional
progress with regard to the physical development of the campus,” Kaplan
Reporting directly to Casteen, Ern will lead the College’s administrative
team in overseeing academic programs, fiscal matters, campus life, private fund
raising and local and state relationships. While he will be the liaison between
the College and the University’s Board of Visitors, he also will work closely
the Wise board.
my various admin-istrative assignments in Charlottes-ville,
my personal and professional associations with faculty and
staff at the College at Wise and
with friends in Southwest Virginia have been especially meaningful, productive
and enjoyable,” Ern said.
“Accordingly, my wife and I very much look
forward to serving the College and the University during this transition.”
Ern retired from U.Va. in 2000, having served for the last
nine years as senior vice president. He joined U.Va.
in 1962 as an assistant geology
professor. His scholarly work included analyses of geological conditions
the Appalachian region.
Three years after joining the faculty, he became assistant dean
in the College of Arts & Sciences, then served as dean of admission from 1967 to 1973, and
as vice president for student affairs from 1973 to 1993. The same year he became
senior vice president, in1993, the board created the Ernest H. Ern Distinguished
Professorship in Environmental Sciences and named him a University professor,
U.Va.’s highest academic rank.
with his wife Petie, will move to Wise in June, working first from
Charlottesville to prepare for the transition.
new provost and senior vice chancellor
Gilmer W. Blackburn, an historian
with more than 30 years of experience in higher education, will
senior vice chancellor at the College
at Wise, U.Va. President
John T. Casteen III announced April 19.
am pleased Mr. Blackburn has agreed to join the College
at Wise,” Casteen said. “He will arrive during a time
of transition at the College, and his leadership and experience
in higher education will be key to helping guide the college
community in the coming years.” Blackburn will assume his duties on July 1. An accomplished
scholar, Blackburn will hold professorships in history and
“With Ern and Blackburn in place,” Casteen said, “I
believe the College at Wise will be in the hands of two capable
and visionary academic administrators.”
Blackburn is currently coordinator of special projects
Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C. He
came to Gardner-Webb in 1968 as a professor of history
the institution in a variety of roles including director
of graduate studies, associate dean of academic affairs
affairs. Before being named to his current post in 2003,
Blackburn spent a decade as vice president and dean of
He helped develop a new core curriculum, which was recognized
as one of the most distinctive in the nation, and also
oversaw the creation of an MBA program and graduate-level
in education, counseling and nursing.
am extraordinarily excited about beginning my work at
said. “I look forward to working to continue to enhance
the quality of the College and to continue to expand its academic
A former Fulbright Scholar to Germany, Blackburn is the
author of “Education in the Third Reich: A Study of Race and History
in Nazi Textbooks,” as well as numerous other scholarly
A North Carolina native, Blackburn completed his first
two years of college at Gardner-Webb and graduated
with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history,
and went on to earn his doctoral degree in education from the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill .
Blackburn and his wife, Martha Burke Blackburn, a retired
kindergarten teacher, will move to Wise in June.
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, U.Va.-Wise
is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public liberal arts colleges by U.S.
News & World Report. It is home to 1,700 students.
to continue as academic dean
To ensure a smooth transition between administrations at the
College at Wise, Amelia J. Harris, associate professor of modern
languages at the College at Wise, has accepted a three-year contract
to remain at the institution as academic dean.
Harris brings a wealth of experience at the College
and continuity to this position,” said President John T. Casteen
III of the decision.
Harris has been a full-time member of the U.Va.-Wise
faculty since 1992, teaching both German
and Spanish. She was an adjunct
instructor from 1980 until 1992.
A Fulbright Scholar to Germany, she earned
degree in German from Vanderbilt University and her doctorate,
also in German, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill. She was selected to attend the Bryn Mawr Summer Institute
for Women in Higher Education Administration and was a recipient
of the King Juan Carlos Fellowship, a summer program in Madrid
for teachers of Spanish.
Harris has served as academic dean since the
summer of 2003. Prior to that appointment,
she served three years
of the faculty and associate provost. She chaired the
Department of Language and Literature from 1997 until 2000.
During her tenure as an administrator, Harris
is leading the effort to revise the College’s core curriculum, helped
develop a campus Writing Center and worked to forge sister institution
relationships with universities in Spain and Austria. She currently
serves as the accreditation liaison for the College’s
ongoing SACS self-study.