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June 17, 2014

Harper ready to serve OU as interim provost

NORMAN — Boxes and a lack of furniture surround Kyle Harper in his new, spacious office.

Fresh into his post as the University of Oklahoma’s interim senior vice president and provost, Harper is still getting things settled, but if his busy schedule and enthusiasm for OU are any indication, Harper has hit the ground running and is ready to serve OU.

Harper said going from a teaching to an administrative role was a big change, but he has always enjoyed leadership roles.

“I love OU, and I’m really excited for the chance to serve this institution. I feel that it’s an honor to work for the president, who is an amazing leader, and to play a role in helping carry out his vision was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Harper said.

Before being named interim senior vice president and provost, Harper assisted Nancy Mergler, who was provost from 1995 to 2014, on new academic initiatives, including work with the President’s Task Force on comprehensive curriculum review and delivery methods for first-year classes.

Mergler, who will teach classes in the Honors College in January, said Harper would hold his own in his new role at the university.

“I knew him as a student, and he is super bright and intuitive about people. He listens to people and has an energy level that is higher than mine at the moment. Oh my goodness, he could do so much work,” she said.

Harper said he is ready to help fulfill OU President David L. Boren’s vision for the university and the university offers so much to the state and Norman.

“I think we have an amazing culture on campus. We have a great student-oriented curriculum where teaching really matters. We have vibrant faculty with extraordinary breadth. We’re so strong in so many different areas, and that creates a kind of vitality,” he said.

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