Ray Wallace, IU Southeast’s Next Chancellor, Wants People to Finish Degrees and More Outreach

IU Southeast next chancellor said one place of emphasis will be finding people in Southern Indiana and Louisville who’ve started but never finished degree programs.

The demographic research shows that the region has plenty of people who fit that description, said Ray Wallace, who this week was appointed IU Southeast’s next leader.

So that’s one area he’ll want to focus.

“We need to do a better job, I think, in terms of working with people to complete their degrees,” Wallace said.

“That means looking at different schedules. That means doing more online. That means offering perhaps a different type of degree.”

Another matter atop Wallace’s priority list: More outreach with the community.

“Simply get out and talk to people and say, ‘OK, what could we do a better job?’ We’re a good university, but every university needs to take the pulse,” he said.

Wallace is a native of Northern Ireland.

He ran track as a young man—which included international competition for Northern Ireland—and came to the U.S. on an athletic scholarship to Eastern Illinois University. 

“I’ve been a citizen since ’89, but I still have a little bit of an accent every now and again,” he said. “But I’ve also lived in the South for many years, so I can sound like I’m Northern Irish, but then also I’ll say ‘fixin” too or ‘y’all’ or something like that, and just confuse just everyone.

“But as a linguist, I can code switch,” he added, laughing.

Wallace is the provost and senior vice chancellor at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. He’s also held administrative roles at Troy University in Alabama and Clayton State University in Georgia.

He said he believes IU Southeast has potential for growth, and that’s what drew him to the New Albany campus with about 6,900 students.

“(I) like the look of the faculty,” he said. “Thought that the foundations in terms of the strength of the university were there, and the potential for outreach and growth and new programs is certainly there, too.”

IU President Michael McRobbie chose Wallace after the completion of a local search process that brought four candidates to New Albany. Wallace’s appointment must be approved by the IU Board of Trustees. It’s effective July 1.

He’ll replace Sandra Patterson-Randles, who served as chancellor for 11 years before retiring in June. Barbara Bichelmeyer, an associate vice president in the IU system, has served as interim chancellor.

In his time at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Wallace has increased the number of undergraduate degrees offered, re-established a university-wide honors program and led efforts to increase outreach to high school and community college students, IU Southeast said in a news release.

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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