The Office of Academic Affairs advances our shared goal of excellence in teaching and scholarly research across campus.
Executive Vice President and Provost
John Wiencek, Ph.D., an accomplished chemical and biochemical engineer, experienced academic administrator, and Northeast Ohio native, is UA's new 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:
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.
Interim Senior Vice Provost
Dr. Joe Urgo is serving a one-year position as interim senior vice provost in the Office of Academic Affairs. His primary duty will be to serve as Acting Dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences. He will also provide continuity in operations and ongoing projects within OAA as requested.
Urgo served as interim executive vice president and provost from November 2019 to May 2020.
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.
Vice Provost and Director of Academic Administrative Services
Dr. Rex Ramsier provides support and oversight of labor relations, accreditation, institutional research, the International Center and research administration.