Bloomsburg University’s new provost sets priorities

For Immediate Release
August 16, 2005

BLOOMSBURG—Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s new provost and assistant vice president for academic affairs brings a background as an administrator and a faculty member at four universities to the position he assumed in early-July.
Provost James Mackin said his professional background, combined with discussions with BU President Jessica Kozloff and his review of the university’s academic programs, helped determine three areas to focus on during the coming months—diversity, assessment and information technology.
“I come from four different institutions and every one has been a majority-minority institution,” Mackin said. “At Bloomsburg, I believe we must increase the ethnic diversity of our administration, faculty, staff and students. There is so much to learn from people with diverse perspectives, not only for our students but our entire campus community.”
Mackin believes results of another goal—developing a comprehensive, university-wide assessment and evaluation program—will reinforce BU’s reputation as a high-quality educational institution. For students and their families, assessments will ensure BU is delivering the best possible academic programs, he said. And for state legislators, assessments will provide the information they need while considering budget appropriations.
Mackin’s third major goal centers on further integrating technology into the classroom. “The demand for technology-savvy graduates is growing by the day,” he said. “We owe it to our students and our institution to integrate technology into our curriculum.”
Along with the increased use of technology on campus, Mackin foresees offering more online courses geared to the needs of nontraditional students who may have difficulty attending classes on campus.
Mackin fills the vacancy created in spring 2004 when former provost Patrick Schloss accepted the presidency of Northern State University in South Dakota. James Matta, assistant vice president for graduate studies and research, served as interim provost during 2004-05.
As provost, Mackin is BU’s chief academic officer, working closely with the deans of the colleges of Professional Studies, Liberal Arts, Business and Science and Technology. “A university provost oversees all things academic, sets the direction for the academic units and always focuses on achieving academic excellence,” Mackin explained. “The academic side of the house reports to me.”
Mackin served for the past two years as associate provost at Clayton College and State University, a baccalaureate institution with 5,800 students. Previously, he was special assistant to the president for educational and academic development at Prairie View A&M, Prairie View, Texas; vice president for academic affairs at Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and associate dean of undergraduate academic affairs and director of the marine sciences research center at SUNY Stony Brook. He also taught chemistry courses at Clayton, Prairie View A&M, Stillman and SUNY Stony Brook.
Mackin earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in oceanography from the University of Michigan and a doctoral degree in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago. He and his wife Theresa are the parents of three adult children.
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students and offers 65 bachelor’s, 18 master’s and one doctoral degree.