dr Lance Tatum, vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Troy University in Troy, AL, will be the next president of Northwest Missouri State University.
Tatum, along with his wife Jill, will begin his tenure at Northwest on June 1. He and the university board agreed on an initial three-year contract.
Upon accepting the role, Tatum said he was honored and humbled to lead Northwest.
“In the beginning, it was Northwest’s mission that drew me,” Tatum said. “As we spent the day interacting with different groups, I remembered John Maxwell’s quote: ‘People may hear your words, but they sense your attitude.’ The attitude that Jill and I felt was deep pride in this university. By the end of our visit, we felt confident that Northwest was where we wanted to be.”
The Regents unanimously selected Tatum after soliciting input from Northwest stakeholders, including a university selection committee. Tatum was among four finalists who visited the Maryville campus in February for a series of interviews with stakeholders and public forums.
“Northwest’s reputation has enabled us to recruit a number of highly qualified candidates,” said John Moore, chairman of the Regents and chairman of Northwest’s presidency search committee. “DR. Tatum brings an in-depth knowledge of higher education and significant experience in strategic planning, enrollment management and fundraising. He brings extensive teaching and academic leadership experience, a strong understanding of international markets and a track record of significant community involvement.”
Moore continued, “He knows firsthand how the college experience can have a career and life-changing impact on someone. His passion for students and academic success drives him. All of these qualities impressed the board, but what made them outstanding was the references we received from numerous sources. A recurring theme was that he is down to earth, authentic, transparent and engaging. Another recurring theme was that he is a great leader and that he brings out the best in his people.”
Tatum has served in his current role at Troy University since January 2019 while also holding the rank of Professor in Sorrell College of Business’ School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management. He is responsible for all aspects of the University’s academic mission, including strategic planning, budgeting, oversight and review of teaching, research and continuing education programs. He oversees 32 academic departments housed in five academic colleges, in addition to supervising directors who oversee undergraduate and freshman year, graduate school, academic support, three non-traditional campuses, libraries, registrar, institutional research , Planning and Effectiveness and Sponsored Programs.
Tatum joined Troy University in 1998 as a faculty member and subsequently served as Vice Chancellor for its Montgomery, AL campus; Vice Chancellor for its Global Campus; Dean of the University of Education; and Chair of the Department of Movement Science and Health Promotion and a representative of the Faculty of Athletics. During his career, he has held faculty positions in sports and fitness management at Troy University and began his academic career as an assistant professor of physical education at Gordon College in Barnesville, GA.
He earned a Ph.D. in Sports Management from Florida State University. He holds a Master of Science in Education in Fundamental Education and a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, both from Troy University.
“Working in education is a calling,” Tatum said. “I understand the impact of education on the lives of students and their families. At Northwest, what we do matters to our students, faculty and staff, and to the communities of Northwest Missouri. Jill and I want to be fully involved, not only on campus but also in the Maryville community. We are committed and excited to serve this great university. The best is yet to come.”
A press conference is scheduled to introduce Tatum to the Northwestern community on Thursday, March 16 in conjunction with the March meeting of the Board of Regents. The university is on spring break from March 6th to 10th.
About Northwest’s presidential quest. This announcement is the culmination of a search process Northwest began last summer in partnership with Anthem Executive, a Houston-based search firm.
The search process included a series of public submission sessions attended by Northwest students, staff, alumni, and community members. In February, four finalists for the presidency visited the university campus in Maryville, where stakeholders had the opportunity to interact with the candidates and ask them questions. Stakeholders also had the opportunity to provide feedback on each of the finalists via online surveys.
A presidential search committee, composed of 15 people representing various Northwest interest groups, screened the applicants, identified the finalists after a series of interviews with the candidates in January, and made a recommendation to the Board of Regents after last month’s campus visits away.
Tatum succeeds Dr. John Jasinski, Northwest’s 10th President, who left the university last June, and Dr. Clarence Green, who served as interim president during the 2022-23 academic year.