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Press Release

CHAPEL HILL, NC – University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings announced today that Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar has been named acting Chancellor of Western Carolina University.

Morrison-Shetlar, who is currently serving as Provost, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, and tenured biology professor at WCU, will assume the role of acting Chancellor on January 1, 2018. WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher plans to go on medical leave effective December 31; Belcher has served as chancellor since 2011.

“Dr. Morrison-Shetlar is well-qualified to serve in this increased capacity, and I am confident that she will honor and build upon the profound impact Chancellor Belcher has made at WCU,” said President Spellings. “Her leadership during this transitional period will ensure that WCU students will continue to receive a valuable education and that the institution will continue to thrive. We appreciate Dr. Morrison-Shetlar’s willingness to step up and serve the Catamount community, and I look forward to working with her in the coming months.”

Morrison-Shetlar has been with WCU since January 2014. In this capacity, she has overseen faculty, staff, and administrators in the Division of Academic Affairs, with oversight of personnel and budget for six undergraduate colleges, the Honors College, Graduate School and Research, Hunter Library, and all other academic units. In addition, she has led campus efforts to significantly increase WCU’s student success metrics, enrollment, retention, efficiency, economic impact, international student attendance, and community engagement, and she was integrally involved in the successful launch this past fall of the Catamount School, WCU’s laboratory school.

 “I am grateful to Alison Morrison-Shetlar for her willingness to act in my stead while I am on medical leave. I am confident she shares my commitment to ensuring that students at Western Carolina University receive a high-quality education and a life-changing experience,” said Chancellor David Belcher. “She understands our institutional values and mission, and she has the passion necessary to keep this university focused on its primary purpose – our students and their success – during this time of transition.”

Morrison-Shetlar came to WCU from Elon University, where she had served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2010 until her appointment as WCU provost. A native of Scotland, Morrison-Shetlar holds a doctorate in biomedical science from Dundee College of Technology, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. She received a management and leadership in higher education certificate from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University.

President Spellings will work closely with the Chair of the WCU Board of Trustees to begin planning to launch a search for a permanent chancellor. Further details of the search process will be shared soon with the campus community.

High resolution image for download.