Southern Virginia University Executive Vice President and Provost Paul S. Edwards today announced to faculty and staff that he has accepted an unsolicited offer to become section editor of the editorial page at Utah’s Deseret News. He will help lead the overall transition of the newspaper from a local print media to a voice on topics of national and international relevance.
During his five years as Southern Virginia’s chief academic officer, Edwards helped lead efforts to strengthen students’ common intellectual experience with an enhanced core curriculum, expand the travel study program, assess student learning outcomes and satisfaction, increase student retention, grow library resources and focus on more opportunities for faculty development. He also helped lead the university’s successful bids for re-accreditation with the American Academy for Liberal Education and for regional accreditation candidacy from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
“I would not be leaving Southern Virginia if I felt that my departure in anyway compromised the ability of this institution to achieve full regional accreditation,” he told faculty and staff at a meeting today. “That is not to minimize the work that is left to be done. With me or without me, there is much work to show compliance with SACS’ comprehensive standards. As you execute on well-prepared unit improvement plans and professionalize in all areas you are meriting this important next step in Southern Virginia’s growth.”
Southern Virginia President Rodney K. Smith told the faculty he wants to hear their recommendations for interim provost to fill the role of chief academic officer. A nationwide search for a new provost also will be conducted.
“Paul has left an indelible mark on this institution and his influence will be felt and appreciated for many, many years to come,” said President Smith. “And we will not let him get away from us entirely. He will continue to consult with the university on a limited basis on critical matters, including our application for full regional accreditation.”
Edwards’ last day at the university will be August 15, as he and his family prepare to relocate to Salt Lake City where he will assume his new role on September 1. The Edwards’s eldest son, who recently returned from a mission to Las Vegas, will begin his sophomore year at Southern Virginia this fall.
“We are grateful for Paul’s contributions that, combined with our collective efforts, ensure Southern Virginia University’s bright future,” said President Smith. “Summer enrollment is up 15 percent over last year. Fall enrollment appears to be up significantly over last year. Our mission is established firmly and we will continue to act on our strategic plans and provide an excellent undergraduate education for our students in a wholesome LDS environment.”