National Forum Welcomes New Associate Director Betty Overton-Adkins

It is with great honor and enthusiasm that the National Forum welcomes its new Associate Director, Betty Overton-Adkins, Ph.D.  Dr. Overton-Adkins comes to us from Spring Arbor University, where she served as Provost of all academic affairs for a decade.  According to the National Forum Director, Dr. John Burkhardt, “Over two years ago I asked Betty if she would allow me to put her name forward for a position at the University of Michigan. Her commitment to Spring Arbor University and to her current position as provost was too important to her to even consider leaving then, but after much persuasion and giving Betty a chance to become increasingly familiar with our UM students and the work of the National Forum, she finally opened the door to a discussion of a new role on the CSHPE faculty. We could not be more thrilled that she will join us. Her knowledge of higher education and her relationships across the country are remarkable and her ability to draw out the best in everyone around her has been demonstrated in countless settings.”

Prior to her position at the National Forum, Dr. Overton-Adkins earned her doctorate in educational leadership from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.  She began her career as a public school teacher and has held positions as a professor, department chair, and Graduate Dean of credible public and private universities throughout the country.  Dr. Overton-Adkins is truly an activist for higher education, which is demonstrated through her participation in many credible organizations including the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities (NCA), the board of the American Association of Higher Education & Accreditation (AAHEA), and the editorial board of Liberal Education, published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).  She has been a member of the Board of the Council of Graduate Schools, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), and the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University.  Upon her arrival at the University of Michigan, CHSPE director, Dr. Michael Bastedo said, “Dr. Overton-Adkins has had an amazing career in higher education, and is a leading expert on many topics, including accreditation and academic leadership.  We are thrilled to welcome her to our community.”

Along with managing all community engagement initiatives at the National Forum, Dr. Overton-Adkins has brought two of her own projects.  The first is a FIPSE funded program through the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, titled Ph. D. Pipeline Opportunity Program.  The program focuses on helping to increase the number of persons of color in Ph. D. programs and prepare them to become faculty in business.  Dr. Overton-Adkins is the project evaluator in this initiative, which began two years ago.  The second is a Kellogg Foundation funded program entitled BOLD (Building our Leadership in Detroit).  BOLD is a curriculum development program at Marygrove College focusing on integrating urban leadership concepts and activities throughout the curriculum and connecting the institution and its students to the urban issues within the Detroit community, especially those surrounding the college.  Dr. Overton-Adkins has been involved in this project for many years and will be assisted by Lara Kovacheff-Badke to further develop it here at the National Forum.

Upon her arrival at the University of Michigan and the National Forum, Dr. Overton-Adkins said, “I am delighted to be joining the National Forum and the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education.  I could not think of a better place to be — a powerhouse for research by talented scholars, a place that honors good teaching and the preparation of future academic leaders, and people that care deeply about higher education’s impact in society.  What an opportunity!”  The National Forum team is thrilled about the opportunity to work with Dr. Overton-Adkins and welcomes her as a new colleague and leader.



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