Melissa Latimer was named the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Culture in June 2019 and stepped into the role on July 1. As Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Culture, she is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic vision for faculty development and culture in partnership with the Provost and Associate Provost of Academic Personnel. She is committed to fully engaging academic personnel in the development of a productive, forward-thinking and inclusive institution. In this role Latimer focuses on three key leverage points for institutional transformation including academic personnel rewards and recognition systems, academic leadership development, recruitment, and training and innovative initiatives that promote a diverse and inclusive culture.
Prior to her new appointment, Latimer served for nine years as Director of the WVU ADVANCE Center, where she successfully led a campus wide initiate to recruit, retain, promote, women and other under-represented faculty on our campus. Under Latimer’s leadership, the WVU ADVANCE team expanded initiatives promoting an inclusive, diverse, and equitable academic community, contributed to higher education organization change research and practice, collaborated with other institutions of higher education around issues of broadening participation, and developed and evaluated new initiatives focused on faculty and leadership development, and engaging faculty members, groups, and leaders in ways that enhance organizational capacity. Latimer has also assisted with faculty policy revisions, the annual University promotion and tenure process, workshops for faculty and academic leaders, led searches for academic leaders, and recently co-led Strategic Transformation for the University. Latimer was recently recognized for her efforts with the 2019 Neil S. Bucklew Award for Social Justice and the 2013 Mary Catherine Buswell Award.
Before serving in this role, Latimer was the chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology for five years and a professor of Sociology. She has been a member of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences faculty since 1994. As a scholar her research has involved understanding gender, racial, and spatial inequities within social insurance and social assistance programs and the massive changes in rural Appalachia set in motion by the 1996 welfare reform law. More recently she has examined structured inequities and organizational change within institutions of higher education and the disciplinary similarities and differences in academic preparation. Over the course of her career at West Virginia University, she has published 33 manuscripts, including one co-edited book, and acquired $3,997,627 in external funding, including serving as a co-principal investigator on a $3.8 million National Science Foundation ADVANCE IT grant.