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Dr. Maria Cronley named new provost at Austin Peay

 Dr. Maria Cronley

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Dr. Maria Cronley, a nationally recognized consumer behavior expert and senior administrator at Ohio Northern University, was recently named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Austin Peay State University. She will begin her new role at APSU in July.

The University partnered with Storbeck Search & Associates to conduct a national search to fill Austin Peay’s top academic position. Earlier this month, the University hosted open forums with the four top candidates, before selecting Cronley for the position. Those forums were hosted online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Dr. Cronley’s leadership record impressed me, particularly with her commitment to student success,” Dr. Alisa White, APSU president said. “While at Ohio Northern, she established a Student Success Center, and she helped that institution have the third-best job-placement record among schools in the U.S. She will be a wonderful addition to the APSU senior leadership team, and I look forward to seeing what she inspires within our Austin Peay community.”

Cronley, co-author of the textbook “Consumer Behavior,” has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Ohio Northern University since 2017. During that time, the university experienced consecutive years of enrollment growth, with the highest freshman class in more than a decade. She developed a center for faculty excellence, and she worked with the College of Pharmacy to establish a retail pharmacy and a medical therapy call center on campus. She also launched eSports as a varsity athletics team at the university.

Prior to her time at Ohio Northern, Cronley was employed at Miami University in an array of academic and leadership positions, including professor of marketing, senior associate dean of the Farmer School of Business and senior associate provost. She also served as an assistant professor of marketing at Wright State University.

“I am honored to be chosen for this opportunity and am excited to serve in this role,” Cronley said. “I look forward to working with President White, the vice presidents, deans and other academic leaders, but especially the faculty and students across the University.”

Cronley earned her Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Cincinnati and her Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Bowling Green University. She also attended the American Academic Executive Leadership Institute, the Harvard Leadership Program’s Institute for Education Management and the HERS Institute – a Women’s Leadership Institute at Wellesley College.

Cronley will succeed Dr. Rex Gandy, the University’s current provost, who has served as Austin Peay’s provost since June 2015. Last November, Gandy announced  his intention to retire later this year.

“I appreciate Dr. Gandy’s leadership as the University has experienced significant growth, added new academic programs and transitioned to a new Board of Trustees,” White said.

Gandy will remain at Austin Peay for the next few months as a special assistant to the president for innovation. Dr. Karen Meisch, dean of the APSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, will serve as interim provost from June 1 until Cronley’s arrival in July.