OKLAHOMA CITY – After a comprehensive national search, Kyle Harper, an educator who has served in leadership positions in the Provost’s Office since 2013, has been named Senior Vice President and Provost for the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus.
OU President David L. Boren made the announcement today at the March meeting of the OU Board of Regents.
“Dr. Kyle Harper is already recognized nationally as an outstanding scholar and will provide excellent leadership as a Provost,” said OU President David L. Boren. “He has gained administrative experience while working with past Provost Nancy Mergler and by heading The Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage. He and I will work closely together as a team in making academic decisions. We are very proud that a talented OU alumnus has returned home to assume this position after obtaining his doctorate at Harvard.”
Harper fills the position previously held by Nancy Mergler, who resigned her administrative post as Provost last June to return to classroom teaching, after serving successfully as Provost for almost 20 years.
“It is an honor to accept my appointment to the position of Senior Vice President and Provost at the University of Oklahoma,” said Harper. “I am humbled by the trust placed in me by the Regents, President, faculty, staff, and students of one of America’s great public universities. I am excited to serve this institution because OU has a unique and important role in the world. I truly know of no major university that combines excellence and accessibility the way that OU does or that has such a clear and powerful culture of building citizens and helping students find their purpose in something larger than themselves.”
“OU has experienced 20 years of exceptional progress but what is most exciting is that our momentum today is stronger than it has ever been. I look forward in the months and years ahead to working with faculty and students to continue to improve our curriculum, giving students the breadth, depth, and creative spark they need to succeed and to flourish. I look forward to helping continue to build and support a system of graduate education that propels the next generation of leaders and scholars toward success,” he said.
“And I look forward to enhancing a culture of faculty development and empowerment, where we have a culture of equity and inclusivity and where we seek always to enable faculty to think big and to achieve their boldest dreams of professional success as teachers and as creators,” said Harper. “One of my first steps in my new role will be to constitute a Faculty Advisory Board as a sounding board for new ideas and initiatives, to complement the many existing and future channels through which the Provost’s Office benefits from the collective input and experience of OU’s distinguished faculty.”
As the chief academic officer for OU’s Norman campus, the Provost is responsible for intellectual standards, institutional planning and budgeting, and the recruitment, retention and development of faculty and students as well as program development and review, academic policies and procedures, and enrollment management.
Harper has served as interim Senior Vice President and Provost since June, and previously had served as Senior Vice Provost, assisting the Provost on major, new academic initiatives, including working with the President’s Task Force on comprehensive curriculum review and delivery methods for first-year classes and as a liaison to a working group on digital technology.
A faculty member in OU’s Department of Classics and Letters, Harper also serves as director of OU’s Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, which four years ago launched the University’s successful Teach-In series on Constitutionalism, drawing an audience of thousands throughout the daylong, annual events. The Teach-In has been broadcast on OETA and posted on iTunesU, where it has been downloaded by tens of thousands of viewers from Belgium to Bulgaria and Kazakhstan to Korea.
He also created and introduced “Freedom.ou.edu,” an OU website featuring a weekly series of short lectures on constitutional law and constitutional history, making civic education available to anyone any time. The program is designed to enhance civic education – on campus and beyond. Freedom.ou.edu was conceived as a way to share the resources of OU with the public.
Harper teaches a range of courses on Greek and Roman history, early Christianity, late antiquity and ancient law. For his exceptional teaching, he was awarded the Irene Rothbaum Outstanding Faculty Award in 2011.
A highly sought lecturer and prolific writer, Harper was recipient of the prestigious James Henry Breasted Prize by the American Historical Association for his book, Slavery in the Late Roman World, AD 275-425, published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. In 2013, he was named a recipient of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a national award honoring scholars, artists and scientists who are selected on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise. Guggenheim Fellows represent a wide variety of backgrounds, fields of study and accomplishments. Harper was selected in the field of European and American History based on his research project, The Fall of the Roman Empire: A Biohistory.