Western Carolina University Chancellor Kelli Brown has announced that Alison Morrison-Shetlar, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, will depart from that role Oct. 1 and take a faculty position in the Department of Biology.

Brown made the announcement in a message to the campus community last Wednesday.

Morrison-Shetlar arrived at WCU as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs in January 2014. She also served as the university’s acting chancellor when Chancellor David Belcher began taking medical leave on Jan. 1, 2018. She then became interim chancellor upon Belcher’s death in June 2018, returning to her role as provost and chief academic officer with the July 1 arrival of Brown as WCU’s 12th chancellor.

Morrison-Shetlar will begin her teaching duties next fall after a period of research leave approved by the WCU Board of Trustees in a special called telephone meeting Sept. 18.

Richard Starnes, dean of WCU’s College of Arts and Sciences since April 2013, will serve as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs while the university conducts a national search for its next provost.

Plans for the launch of a national search for a permanent successor will be announced soon, Brown said.

Morrison-Shetlar came to WCU from Elon University, where she had served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since 2010. She previously served as vice provost, dean of undergraduate studies and director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Florida and as director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching at Georgia Southern University.

The Office of the Provost oversees all academic programs of the university, including WCU’s six academic colleges as well as the Honors College, Hunter Library, Graduate School and Research, International Programs, the Cherokee Center and Educational Outreach. The office also leads several student support service units such as advising, registration and tutoring.