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Richard Irwin Named Interim Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and Support Services

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey

Dr. Richard Irwin June 5, 2014 - The University of Memphis has named Dr. Richard Irwin interim vice provost for Academic Innovation and Support Services effective July 1, 2014. He will chair the University Undergraduate Council, oversee all undergraduate, study abroad and international programs and provide leadership in strategic planning, academic advising, and innovative methods to deliver and acquire college-level knowledge in fulfillment of degree completion. 

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. Irwin has agreed to serve in this new role overseeing academic innovation initiatives at the University,” said President M. David Rudd. “His leadership in such areas as the Experiential Learning Lab and the Finish Line degree completion program are critical to the University’s goals of increasing student retention and graduation.”

Throughout his academic and administrative career, Dick Irwin has focused on academic excellence, student success and degree completion,” said Dr. Karen Weddle-West, interim provost. “His creative and innovative ideas about translating professional experiences into academic credit have generated funding to support students’ matriculation, created new pathways to access institutions of higher learning and expedited degree completion. Dick will bring new synergies, vision and collaborations to support the mission of Academic Affairs at the University of Memphis.”

Irwin has served as associate dean of the University College since 2010. In that capacity, he has been responsible for reinvigorating a number of prior learning assessment functions, most notably the Experiential Learning Credit program. In 2011 Irwin was awarded a three-year Access and Diversity Grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents to support program redesign targeting returning adult students. He was appointed to represent the U of M on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s Prior Learning Assessment Task Force and chaired the University’s Competency-based Education Task Force last summer. Currently Irwin oversees the Experiential Learning Lab and Finish Line degree completion initiatives.

He also is director of the Bureau of Sport and Leisure Commerce and a professor in the Department of Health and Sport Sciences. As architect of the department’s Sport and Leisure Studies and Sport Commerce programs, Irwin established innovative and nationally recognized curricula. He has managed commissioned projects on behalf of the Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis Redbirds, FedEx St. Jude Classic, Southern Heritage Classic and other sports businesses.

Recently Irwin and a team of U of M researchers were awarded an NCAA grant to enhance career readiness skills of student-athletes. His professional service has included serving as president of the Sport Marketing Association and two terms on the North American Society for Sport Management Executive Council.

Irwin earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Northern Colorado.

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