Incoming Provost Kimberly Long focuses on learning the culture, building relationships

In May, Newman University officials announced the hiring of a new provost and vice president of Academic Affairs to replace departing Provost Michael Austin, Ph.D. Now, in July, Kimberly McDowall Long, Ph.D. has officially taken her post – and is learning about Wichita and Newman.

Although Long is physically on campus each day, she is still in the process of relocating to Wichita.

“I’m staying temporarily in a residence hall, which is wonderful,” Long said. “My husband is still in North Dakota. He’s selling our home and moving us down so I got the easy job.”

Long came to Newman from the University of Mary, Bismarck, N.D., where she had served as assistant vice president of Academic Affairs since 2008. The University of Mary is a Catholic university similar in size to Newman, which was founded by an order of Benedictine sisters as a women’s college in the late 1950s.

Long said she was looking for a university founded by sisters in the Midwest and Newman felt like a great fit.

“I was looking at a lot of stuff and Newman lined up on everything I’d asked for,” she said. “I walked away [from her first visit to Newman] feeling like it was a calling.”

Long said her primary goals for this year involve becoming acquainted with the culture and people of Newman University.

“There are basic things you’ve got to do in academic affairs to keep the trains running on time, and I know how to do that,” she said. “But learning the culture and getting to know the people here, developing relationships with the people here, that’s where I’m going to be spending a lot of my time.”

Long said it is equally important for her to start building relationships with her fellow faculty and staff members as it is to get to know students.

“It’s mostly relationship building and listening,” Long said. “That’s my big agenda, which doesn’t sound like much of an agenda but that’s what it is.”

Long also said that while she is excited about her new opportunities as Newman provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, she is going to miss teaching.

“I won’t be teaching this year for the first time since 2005,” she said. “Between leaving the sisters behind and leaving my students behind, those are the two hardest things.”

Long added that after this first year she may get the opportunity to teach again, but for now she wants to focus on academic affairs.

“The first year I need to learn this job and this place,” she said.

Long earned her Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Capella University. She received her Master of Management degree and her undergraduate degree from University of Mary.

Read more about Long here.

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