William Woods University (WWU) President Jahnae H. Barnett today announced the appointment of Dr. Michael Westerfield as the first-ever Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness at the university, effective immediately. Dr. Westerfield has served as Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at WWU since 2015.
The new Vice-President of Institutional Effectiveness (VPIE) is a cabinet-level position reporting directly to the president of the university. It is being established to provide direction and oversight of strategic planning initiatives; coordinate institutional, program and student learning assessment and institutional research, and facilitate the continuous improvement of the university. Working with all cabinet-level personnel, the VPIE will oversee a comprehensive program of institutional research and assessment designed to support the mission of William Woods University. This research and assessment will inform management decision-making and meet reporting requirements as mandated by state, federal and external accreditation agencies, the Higher Learning Commission, and other reporting needed by stakeholders.
“Consistent and ongoing evaluation, as a way of achieving continuous improvement as a university, is perhaps the most important process we undertake as an institution,” said President Barnett. “Dr. Westerfield’s distinguished career in higher education, including his vast experience leading accreditation teams for the Higher Learning Commission, make him uniquely qualified to lead our efforts as Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness.”
To further aid the continuous improvement process, the university is also creating a new Committee for Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness, comprised of members of the WWU Board of Trustees, which will be responsible for keeping informed about the university’s efforts in accreditation and all aspects of institutional effectiveness.
Dr. Westerfield joined William Woods in 2009 as Vice President for the Graduate College, Director of Accreditation Services and Professor of English. Previous experience includes service as President and Provost of Rochester (MI) College and Administrative Vice President of York (NE) College. During his career, he also has led more than 60 accreditation teams for the Higher Learning Commission, and continues to train new peer reviewers and new team chairs for the Commission. Dr. Westerfield earned his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1984, his M.A. from Pittsburg (KS) State University in 1977 and his B.A. from Harding University (AR) in 1974, all in English.