Dr. Stanley T. Wearden, a visionary with a proven record of excellence in academics, communications and leadership, has been selected as Methodist University’s next president. Dr. Wearden takes office Jan. 1, 2019.
Mac Healy, Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees, made the announcement during a ceremony at Berns Student Center attended by students, faculty, staff, and Trustees on Wednesday, October 10.
“The Board of Trustees is excited to have Dr. Wearden as Methodist’s fifth President,” Healy said. “His vision, experience and energy helped to convince us that Dr. Wearden is the right leader for this time in the life of Methodist University. We welcome Dr. Wearden and his wife to Methodist and the Fayetteville community.”
Wearden, 65, has been Senior Vice President and Provost of Columbia College Chicago since July, 2014, where he oversees nearly 300 faculty members and has been credited with leading the development and implementation of a highly inclusive and ambitious strategic plan.
“Thank you for this incredible honor – and responsibility – of leading Methodist University,” Wearden said. “I’m very excited about being here. I can’t wait for January 1.”
Wearden was chosen by Methodist University’s Board of Trustees after a competitive nationwide search by Haley Associates Higher Education Executive Search & Consulting. Wearden succeeds Dr. Ben Hancock, who retired in May after serving as Methodist University President since 2011.
Wearden previously served as Dean of the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio from 2009 to 2014. He served as director of the Kent State University School of Communication Studies from 2004 to 2009, where he created a new major in Applied Communication, which helped increase the school’s undergraduate enrollment by 80 percent in four years.
For 20 years, Wearden taught Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University, and has held the rank of professor with tenure in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and School of Communication Studies, and in Columbia College Chicago’s Communication Department.
Wearden’s extensive academic experience also includes earning a doctorate degree in Mass Communication Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1987. His wife, Deborah Davis, is working on a second master’s degree, in religious studies. The family includes five children and two grandchildren.
Wearden’s accomplishments at Columbia include leading the development and staffing of an Academic Services Office to centralize and improve advising and tutoring. Wearden also helped create the position of dean of academic diversity, equity, and inclusion and co-led the engagement of the entire college leadership and all faculty and staff in a year-long series of intensive, two-day Undoing Racism workshops.
“We are convinced that, under Dr. Wearden’s leadership, Methodist will continue to grow our undergraduate and graduate programs,” Healy said, “while staying true to the traditions that have made Methodist University what is today.”