Dr. Robert Nelsen Named UTD Associate Provost

Popular Professor Charged With Leading
University through Accreditation Process

RICHARDSON, Texas (Feb. 13, 2006) — Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, a popular professor of literary studies and multi-term speaker of the faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), has been named associate provost.  Nelsen will report to Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, the university’s executive vice president and provost, with the primary charge of leading UTD’s preparation for its accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), scheduled for early 2008.

Nelsen also will assume some of the responsibilities previously held by Dr. Larry D. Terry, the former executive vice provost for academic affairs, who became the university’s vice president for business affairs on Feb. 1.  Nelsen will oversee several development and evaluation review processes, and he will play a key role in working with deans and faculty to ensure those functions work properly.  He also will oversee reviews of UTD’s academic programs.

Robert Nelsen, Ph.D.Dr. Robert Nelsen, professor of literary studies and multi-term speaker of the faculty, will lead UTD's preparation for 2008 accreditation and assume some responsibilities of Dr. Larry Terry, who now serves as vice president of business affairs.


“UTD is extremely fortunate that an individual with Robert’s multiple talents of teacher, scholar and faculty leader concurrently has the community spirit to take on the daunting task of leading SACS reaffirmation,” Wildenthal said.  “I have had the privilege of working with Robert since I arrived at UTD many years ago, and I admire his intelligence, his values, his energy and his profound love for UTD and his dedication to its progress.”

Accreditation involves compliance with the principles set forth by the Commission on Colleges and includes the granting of approval to an institution by an official review board after the school has met specific requirements.  The Commission on Colleges requires that all institutions, regardless of type — public, private for-profit, private not-for-profit — meet its criteria. 

Nelsen will work with the deans of UTD’s seven schools, as well as faculty and staff, to provide the proper documentation and standards needed to maintain the university’s membership in SACS.  Most schools go through the accreditation process every 10 years.  He will relinquish his speaker of the faculty position to focus on his new duties.

“I look forward to this next chapter in my academic career, and I am particularly excited about the opportunity and challenge of leading UTD through the reaffirmation process,” Nelsen said.  “I am pleased, too, that I will be able to continue working closely with the great faculty, staff and students that make UTD such an outstanding university.”

Though he will continue to teach at least one class per semester, Nelsen also will step down as head of the highly successful creative writing program he helped create in UTD’s School of Arts and Humanities. 

Selected as UTD’s teacher of the year for the 2004-2005 academic year, Nelsen most recently assisted UTD President Dr. David E. Daniel in the creation of the university’s strategic plan. 

Nelsen joined UTD in 1990 as an assistant professor.  He served as chair of the University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council for two years and currently sits on two Coordinating Board Committees:  the Graduate Education Advisory Council and the Academic Course Guide Manual Committee.  

Before joining UTD, Nelsen taught for one year at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  He received his Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

Nelsen has published extensively throughout his 20–year academic career.  His work has appeared in such journals as StoryQuarterly, Other Voices, Chariton Review and Southwest Review.  He recently finished a novel, Spirits Colliding.  

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls nearly 14,500 students.  The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores.  The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.  For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.