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U Of I Urbana Interim Provost Leaving For Similar Post At Oregon State University

University of Illinois Urbana campus interim Provost Edward Feser

Edward Feser is leaving his position as interim provost at the U of I Urbana campus for a similar job at Oregon State. L. Brian Stauffer/University of Illinois

University of Illinois Urbana campus chancellor Robert Jones announced Monday morning that interim provost Edward Feser is leaving the university to become provost and executive vice president at Oregon State University.

Feser had served as U of I Urbana campus interim chancellor since September 2015, when he was appointed to the position by then-interim chancellor Barbara Wilson.  He previously served as Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts.

In a mass email to the campus, Jones called Feser an "invaluable partner" during his time at Illinois.  Jones became UIUC chancellor in September 2016.

"Most critically, he has helped lead through one of the most difficult financial times in the university’s history and has championed a new budgeting system and model that will benefit our students, faculty and staff and support our mission for years to come," the e-mail said.

Feser took over the provost position from Ilesanmi Adesida, who resigned in August 2015.

Feser has served in the role of Interim Provost at the U of I’s Urbana campus since September 2015, but says the new position aligned well with his skill set, and gives him a chance to live near his roots.

“It’s exciting to be part of a university that’s aspiring to be one of the top land grant (universities), presents a different set of challenges skill-wise, but it also has the advantage of being in the Pacific Northwest, which is where I come from, and many of my family members still are," he said.

Feser expects Urbana’s next interim provost to continue talks on the campus strategic plan.

"I think it’s absolutely critical that that goes forward," he said. "That budget reform – which is more than simply about how we distribute the money – but also, how we account for it, and how we communicate about it, how we make decisions strategically, that reform project is essential to the long-term future of the institution.”

Among the issues Feser had to navigate during his time as provost were uncertain state funding and the case of Steven Salaita, the professor who sued the U of I after the withdrawal a job offer over comments about Israel made on Twitter.  The two sides ultimately settled that lawsuit.

The provost on the U of I Urbana campus serves as chief academic officer, and reports directly to the chancellor. Feser expects Chancellor Jones to name another interim provost soon, but also quickly begin a search to find a permanent one.

Feser will begin his new position at Oregon State in late February.