Academic leadership

Dr. John Wiencek

Executive Vice President and Provost

John WiencekJohn Wiencek, Ph.D., an accomplished chemical and biochemical engineer, experienced academic administrator, and Northeast Ohio native, is UA's executive vice president and provost.

As provost, Wiencek (pronounced WIN-sek) will redefine and implement the priorities for the Office of Academic Affairs and bolster UA’s research prominence and productivity. He is responsible for:

  • sharpening the University’s enrollment strategy and practices, including exploring new markets and expanding delivery models;
  • assessing and optimizing the academic affairs structure and processes;
  • recruiting and developing an exceptional academic leadership team; and
  • contributing to UA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

As executive vice president, he is the most senior administrator reporting to the president.

Wiencek grew up near the Portage Lakes and graduated from Walsh Jesuit High School. He spent summers employed at the famed Waterloo Restaurant “flipping eggs and burgers.”

“The University of Akron is a strong public urban research university that has a deep history and an extremely bright future,” said Wiencek. “I grew up in Akron and have an affinity for the community and a profound respect for the students and employees who have chosen it as their home.”

An experienced academic leader, Wiencek most recently served as provost and executive vice president at the University of Idaho. There, he developed and implemented a strategic plan and executed new improvements in communication to build trust between the faculty and administration for a stronger campus community.

He previously served as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. There he was the driving force behind many significant accomplishments, including resolving initiatives such as enrollment planning and fundraising; completing several searches for key roles; and establishing a Strategic Enrollment Council.

Prior to that, Wiencek served as dean of the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida. He also served in a variety of positions at The University of Iowa including department chair, graduate director, graduate admissions chair, and professor of chemical and biomedical engineering. He began his career as an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University. 

Wiencek earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy, both in Chemical Engineering, from Case Western Reserve University. As a researcher, he has focused on protein biophysics with applications to drug formulations.

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Dr. Cher Hendricks

Senior Vice Provost

Dr. Cher HendricksDr. Cher Hendricks is UA's senior vice provost in the Office of Academic Affairs. She joined the University in 2020 as interim chief of staff in OAA.

Hendricks began her higher education career as a faculty member at the University of West Georgia, where she also served as assessment and accreditation coordinator for the College of Education, founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and associate vice provost for academic affairs.

For three years, Hendricks was a research scientist at Georgia Tech where she worked on NSF-funded projects related to K-12 STEM education programs.

Then she served as Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives at the University of Idaho where she was responsible for expanding and improving curricula and programs, supporting student success initiatives, and overseeing faculty development to enhance teaching and learning.

Hendricks has a keen interest in broadening faculty participation in campus change initiatives and providing avenues for collaboration.

With a team of colleagues from colleges and universities in Georgia and Colorado, she leads workshops for campus leaders who are searching for ways to invite faculty to lead during times of change. Hendricks is author of Improving Schools through Action Research: A Reflective Practice Approach, now in its fourth edition, and contributor to The Wiley Handbook of Action Research in Education (2019).

She earned her undergraduate degree from Baylor University, her master's at the University of Houston, and a Ph.D. in educational research and measurement from the University of South Carolina.


Dr. Joe Urgo

Interim dean of the Williams Honors College and vice provost of student pathways

Dr. Joe Urgo, Interim Executive Vice President and Provost at The University of AkronDr. Joe Urgo is interim dean of the Williams Honors College and vice provost of student pathways in the Office of Academic Affairs. Urgo will lead efforts to attract and retain students who enter The University of Akron. Students come to UA via different pathways and with varied levels of preparation. Students can be young high schoolers or older adults, require augmentation of basic math or English skills, or ready to launch into an Honors thesis project. He is responsible for understanding and supporting each of these student groups so that they progress and graduate in a timely way. A national search for a permanent person to serve in this role will commence in fall 2021.

Urgo has had extensive experience creating programs, attracting financial support from foundations and individuals, and reallocating internal budget priorities to better align with institutional goals and ambitions. At two institutions he created systems of faculty allocation to implement thoughtful re-deployment of academic resources to meet institutional needs. Urgo has also led mediation exercises among administrators and faculty members where relations had been strained by prolonged professional misalignment and an absence of empathetic insight.

Having earned leadership positions at a private regional university, a public R-1 flagship institution, as well as private and public liberal arts colleges, Urgo is able to introduce multiple models of successful intervention to challenges that inevitably occur on campuses.

Urgo earned a B.A. in political science from Haverford College, an M.A. in liberal studies from Wesleyan University (CT), and an M.A. and Ph.D. in American civilization from Brown University. A literary scholar, he has written five books, edited nine, and published dozens of essays on topics in American literature, culture, and higher education.

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Deans

Dr. Aimée L. deChambeau

Dean, University Libraries
Associate Professor of Bibliography

deChambeau-Aimee-headshotDr. Aimée L. deChambeau was appointed on June 14, 2017, as the dean of University Libraries after serving for a year as interim dean. Previously, she was associate dean.

As associate dean, deChambeau’s responsibilities included responding to changes in higher education, the academic environment and the library profession, and ensuring that the organization, management and skill levels of all library personnel evolved to meet new challenges.

A tenured associate professor of bibliography, deChambeau joined the University as head of electronic services in April 2011. Prior posts include serving as an associate librarian at the Frank Melville Jr. Memorial Library at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y., and director of the Schmidt Family Information & Technology Center at The Knox School in St. James, N.Y. From 1997-2004 she also served as engineering librarian here at The University of Akron.

deChambeau holds a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education from Prescott College and an MLS from the University of Pittsburgh. She has extensive experience in managing library services and systems in higher education as well as K-12. Her research focuses on sustainable education and student success at the intersection of technology, communities of practice, and collaboration. deChambeau has additional research interests in the area of feminist pedagogy and collaboration.

Her service on campus includes membership on the Williams Honors College Advisory Council since 2015, the Diversity Council since 2013, and the University Council Information Technology Committee since 2011. More.


Dr. Susan Hanlon

Interim Dean, College of Business
Associate Professor of Management
Fitzgerald Institute Fellow of Entrepre­neurship

Susan HanlonDr. Susan Hanlon was appointed interim dean of the college, effective July 1, 2019. She served most recently as associate dean and interim department chair of the George W. Daverio School of Accountancy.

Hanlon, who joined The University of Akron's College of Business in 1990, has long balanced classroom teaching with administrative roles. It was on July 1, 2016, that she became associate dean. From Oct. 1, 2009, to June 30, 2016, she was an assistant dean in the college.

Over the years, she has taught Management Principles, Selection and Staffing, Organization Transformation, CBA Student Success and the CBA Honors Integrated Business Forum. Hanlon's research interests focus on psychological capital, management development, nontraditional rewards and collaborative processes.

Hanlon is overseeing a college that offers undergraduate degree programs in accounting, e-marketing and advertising, finance, management, marketing, sales and international business. The CBA and its undergraduate and graduate programs have been ranked nationally by BusinessWeek, the Princeton Review, U.S. News World Report, the Public Accounting Report, and others. In addition, the CBA and separately, the George W. Daverio School of Accountancy, have received the highest level of accreditation by the selective Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, a distinction held by less than five percent of all business schools.

Hanlon earned a B.A. at Grove City College, an MBA at Kent State University and a DBA at the University of Memphis.


Dr. Timothy McCarragher

Acting Dean, College of Health Professions
Associate Professor of Social Work

McCarragher-Tim-2020-high-res-headshotDr. Timothy McCarragher has been appointed acting dean of the College of Health Professions.

The College of Health Professions is home to the School of Allied Health Technology, School of Counseling, School of Nursing, School of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Social Work, School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and the School of Sport Science and Wellness Education.

Since joining UA in 2000, McCarragher, an associate professor of social work, has handled a several administrative roles, in addition to teaching a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. He has been director of the School of Social Work and Master of Social Work coordinator since 2008. McCarragher also has been serving as associate dean of strategic operations and graduate studies.

McCarragher, who is licensed as an independent social worker in Ohio, earned a B.A. in English, magna cum laude, in 1986 at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. He went on to earn a graduate degree in theology, cum laude, at Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana in Rome, Italy, in 1989, followed by a postgraduate degree in spiritual theology, magna cum laude in 1991 at Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana in Rome, Italy. McCarragher earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work at Cleveland State University in 1994, and a Ph.D. in Social Welfare at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in 2002.


Dr. Mitchell S. McKinney

Dean, Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences

Mitchell S. McKinneyA renown political communication scholar, Mitchell S. McKinney, Ph.D., is dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.

McKinney joined UA from the University of Missouri, where he served as professor of communication and director and founder of the Political Communication Institute.

During his tenure at Missouri, he was appointed to several academic leadership positions, including director of graduate studies, and both associate department chair and chair of the Department of Communication, one of MU’s largest academic units. He also served as Faculty Fellow for academic affairs in the Office of the Provost.

Full biography.

Dr. Craig Menzemer

Interim Dean, College of Engineering
Professor of Civil Engineering

Menzemer-Craig-2018-headshotDr. Craig Menzemer was appointed interim dean of the College of Engineering by The University of Akron Board of Trustees in October 2018. He is responsible for the day to day functions of the college, including curriculum development, student assessment, recruitment and budget. He most recently served as acting dean and as associate dean for graduate studies in the college.

Menzemer joined UA in 1996 after serving more than a decade as a product design and senior technical specialist with Alcoa. Previously, Menzemer was a construction management field engineer for United States Steel Corp.

He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees, all in civil engineering, at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. His professional affiliations include the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Welding Society and Sigma Xi. More.


Christopher C.J. Peters

Dean, School of Law

Peters-CJ-headshotChristopher C.J. Peters joined the School of Law as its dean on June 15, 2017. He most recently served as the associate dean for faculty scholarship and a professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Founded in 1921, The University of Akron School of Law has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1961, and it is a member of the American Association of Law Schools.

Peters has a wealth of teaching experience at law schools, including Chicago, Loyola Los Angeles, Toledo and Wayne State. He has been teaching at Baltimore Law since 2009, and in 2015, he was appointed to the associate dean post.

He graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where Peters was associate editor of the Michigan Law Review his final year. He earned his B.A. summa cum laude in history from Amherst College.

Peters has been published widely. He is the author of “A Matter of Dispute: Morality, Democracy, and Law” (Oxford University Press, 2011). His writings have been featured in law reviews at such schools as Harvard, Columbia, Yale, UCLA, Oklahoma, BYU and Northwestern. More.


Dr. Joe Urgo

Interim Dean, Williams Honors College

Urgo's biography is higher on this page.