AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The UT System Board of Regents named Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Ph.D., provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of North Texas, as the sole finalist for the president of UT Arlington.
Regents voted unanimously Friday, Jan. 7 to select Cowley, who “has risen through the ranks of academia over the past 20 years and has held numerous positions at the academic program, college and university levels,” the UT System said in a news release.
Earlier this week, Teik C. Lim, who had served as UTA interim president for almost two years, was named the new president of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Former UTA President Vistasp Karbhari resigned in March 2020.
As provost at UNT, which enrolls 42,000 students, Cowley launched a strategic effort in 2017 that increased the three- and four-year graduation rates, according to the UT System.
Before joining UNT in 2017, Cowley was a member of the faculty at The Ohio State University, serving as vice provost for capital planning and regional campuses, associate dean for academic affairs and administration in the College of Engineering, and department chair and professor in City and Regional Planning.
“Dr. Cowley is an accomplished leader in academia, research and industry partnerships, and her experiences align well with UT Arlington’s mission and growth aspirations,” Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said. “Throughout her career, she has remained focused on student success, faculty collaborations, and external partnerships—all essential elements needed to advance a top public research university.”
With an enrollment of more than 48,000 students, UT Arlington is one of the largest universities in Texas and one of the fastest growing in the country, the UT System said.
Cowley’s candidacy was recommended to regents by a presidential search advisory committee, led by Chancellor James B. Milliken, and was composed of representation from the UT Arlington faculty, students, alumni, community leaders, UT presidents and regents.
“I thank the search advisory committee for its very good work, which resulted in an exceptional group of candidates recommended to the regents,” Milliken said. “Dr. Cowley’s career and accomplishments are impressive by any standard, and I am especially enthusiastic about her innovative spirit and track record for making visions reality. I think she is the ideal fit for UT Arlington.”
Cowley holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in urban planning and doctorate in urban and regional science from Texas A&M University. In addition, she earned master’s degrees in public administration and interdisciplinary studies from UNT. Her research and work in urban planning has been published and referenced in numerous books, journals and publications.
Cowley grew up in Arlington attending summer camps and classes at UTA.
She has taught an annual professional development workshop at UTA for the last decade.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to return my hometown to play a leadership role in shaping the future at UT Arlington, and I enthusiastically accept this opportunity and responsibility,” Cowley said. “I am eager to begin working with faculty, staff, students, alumni, the UT System, and the broader metroplex and statewide communities to help UTA achieve its full potential as it serves the people of Texas through education and discovery.”
Per state law, Regents now must wait 21 days before officially naming Cowley president.