May 19, 2021
Dear Campus Community,
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Debbie Storrs will be UNC Greensboro’s next Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and Professor in the Sociology department as confirmed today by the Board of Trustees. She begins on June 30, 2021.
Dr. Storrs is an accomplished teacher, scholar, and leader. For the past year, Dr. Storrs has served as the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of North Dakota (UND), where she helped lead academic affairs through its COVID-19 response and commissioned a faculty-led task force to look at the future of UND post-pandemic. As Provost, she facilitated efforts across UND to provide high-quality and innovative educational programs; recruited and supported outstanding faculty and staff; advanced diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes; and prioritized student success. Dr. Storrs also helped lead the development and execution of the UND Strategic Plan.
Dr. Storrs joined the University of North Dakota in 2013, where she served as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for five years before her appointment as Senior Vice Provost. As Senior Vice Provost, Dr. Storrs created and supported great teams who collectively worked on enrollment and student success initiatives. Under her leadership, Dr. Storrs and her team maintained academic quality, enhanced academic advising, and improved student support, all of which led to a 3% increase in the first-year student retention rate. As Dean, she led the college through a strategic planning process; implemented a new university-sponsored budget model within the college; helped secure philanthropic funds for scholarships, faculty support, and special projects (exceeding her fundraising goals); and implemented several student success initiatives.
Dr. Storrs previously worked at the University of Idaho where she joined as an Assistant Professor and rose through the ranks to Professor, Interim Department Chair (in two different departments), and Associate Dean. A first-generation college student, Dr. Storrs earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Alaska, and a MS and PhD in Sociology from the University of Oregon.
Dr. Storrs earned a number of awards for her excellence in teaching and commitment to student learning. She embraces the teacher-scholar model and has conducted research and published on the scholarship of teaching and learning, community action, and on the experiences of students of color in higher education. She has engaged many undergraduate students in the discovery process, and co-authored conference papers and peer-reviewed publications with students.
In all of my conversations with her, I have been impressed by her commitment to public higher education and its transformative power; and how her compelling journey as a woman of color and first-generation community college student has impacted her as a university leader. Moreover, she has a proven track record of integrity and excellence, and has demonstrated her dedication to equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts. Dr. Storrs’ colleagues confirm what we observed during her campus visit – namely, that she is an energetic, collaborative, and transparent leader with the ability to get things done.
My deepest appreciation goes out to the search committee, led by Professor Greg Bell, who worked extremely hard this semester to develop an impressive pool of candidates with our partners at Isaacson, Miller, and brought this national search to a successful conclusion. And, a huge thank you to Vice Chancellor Terri Shelton, who has been serving admirably in the interim. She looks forward to working with Dr. Storrs to ensure a smooth transition.
I have every confidence that Dr. Storrs is the right person at the right time for UNCG as we aspire to be a national model for how to blend access and excellence to transform our students, the institution, and the community.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Storrs to the Spartan family.
Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.