This week Cal Poly announced the appointment of Michigan State University dean and professor Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore as its new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. Jackson-Elmoore will begin her new role at Cal Poly on Aug. 1.
Jackson-Elmoore is currently dean of the Honors College at MSU and a professor with affiliations in the School of Social Work and the Global Urban Studies Program. She also currently co-chairs a university level Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee and is a presidential appointee to MSU's Strategic Planning Committee.
At Cal Poly, Jackson-Elmoore will oversee the Academic Affairs division, which includes the university’s six colleges, along with the international and extended education programs, the Kennedy Library and the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity. In addition, she shares oversight of research and economic development; graduate education; financial aid; the registrar; admissions; and enrollment.
“We are tremendously excited to bring an educator of Cynthia’s caliber into one of our key campus leadership roles,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “Her strong academic and administrative background will play an important role in the continual improvement of our already world class Learn by Doing education. And as we work to enhance our campus culture through diversity, equity and inclusion, her passion for and experience with these issues will be a valuable addition to Academic Affairs and the university as a whole.”
Prior to her current post, Jackson-Elmoore served as acting assistant dean of MSU’s Urban Affairs Programs, director of the Urban Studies Graduate Program in the College of Social Science, and co-director of the Program in Urban Politics and Policy that was jointly housed in the Department of Political Science and Urban Affairs Programs.
She has taught courses in public policy processes and analysis, urban politics, and social welfare policy and services; conducted evaluations on community health care reform; and served as project manager for a multi-state research study.
Additionally, she serves on the public policy committee of the Michigan American Council on Education Women's Network; on the External Advisory Board for the University of Kentucky's Lewis Honors College; and the Faculty Board of Advisors for MSU's Community Economic Development Program.
“When I spoke with students and employees about the provost role, I saw a group of people who believe passionately in Cal Poly’s hands-on approach to learning and who are dedicated to the idea that an already excellent institution can still improve,” Jackson-Elmoore said. “I am honored and thrilled to join Cal Poly and eager to get to work with a campus community that is so clearly focused on doing all it can to help students succeed.”
Jackson-Elmoore earned doctorate and master's degrees in Public Administration, with a public policy emphasis, from the University of Southern California and a bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware. She also earned certification from the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Jackson-Elmoore noted experiencing an undeniably strong connection with the Cal Poly community throughout the search process for the provost role.
“I enjoyed my time in California during my graduate studies, so this is a bit of a homecoming,” she said. “My spouse, Ambrose, and I are looking forward to making the San Luis Obispo and Central Coast region our home.”
Jackson-Elmoore will succeed Mary Pedersen, who has served as Cal Poly’s interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs since summer of 2019. Pedersen, previously the university’s senior vice provost, has guided Academic Affairs with a particular focus on strategic planning, improvement of graduation rates, revision of General Education, expansion of the Cal Poly Scholars program, and increased diversity and inclusion programming within the academic curriculum.