The University of Central Arkansas has named Michael Hargis, the dean of the College of Business, as interim provost effective Aug. 1, 2017.

The change comes after UCA President Houston Davis made a decision in June to appoint an interim provost for the 2017-18 year to replace former Provost Steve Runge, ultimately making a change to the university’s leadership team.

The process for a new provost will be conducted through a national search.

"I am very appreciative of Dr. Hargis’[s] willingness to serve in this critical role as we conduct a national search for provost," President Davis said. "His leadership and guidance will ensure that we continue to progress toward our goals of student success and retention and allow the university to capitalize on new opportunities in the interim."

Davis first called attention to the change when he sent an email out to faculty and staff in June.

"Dr. Steve Runge has provided many years of great service to UCA and will continue to be a valuable member of our university family," Davis said in the email. "As a faculty member and scholar, as a department chair and college dean, and as [provost] for the last five years, he has been an important part of the work of UCA and our university community."

He wrote that he was thankful for all Runge had done for the campus and looks forward to "continuing to work" with him as he transitions to faculty status during the upcoming year.

He said for the critical hire, maybe one of the most important he will make in his tenure at UCA, he looks forward to hearing from faculty and staff regarding traits and characteristics they hope to see in the provost and that he appreciates all that they do to make UCA an "outstanding university."

Runge also sent an email to faculty and staff at UCA.

"Dear Friends and Colleagues," he wrote. "I wanted to let you know that President Davis has told me that he wants to have a fresh start with leadership in Academic Affairs, and I will be stepping down as executive vice president and provost as of July 31, 2017."

Runge said that when a new president was selected for the university, he knew the possibility of this situation could happen.

"I can’t help but be proud when I reflect upon all of that we have accomplished during my five and a half years as provost, and I thank all of you who have worked so hard to make positive changes," he said.

Runge, who said he has always enjoyed working with students and his colleagues closely in the UCA Department of Biology, looks forward to the the new opportunity to reconnect to his "roots as a faculty members."

"I may pursue a leadership position in the future, but for now, I am very excited about teaching and researching again," he said.

Runge said it has been his honor to have been a part of UCA for the past 26 years.

"I am confident that the university is in good hands and that we will have a bright future," he said.

According to the website, Hargis teaches courses in organizational behavior, human resource management and organizational development and change.

His research focuses on the context- and person-based factors that influence functional — innovation, task persistence, goal setting — and dysfunctional, or unethical decision-making, behavior in organizations.

Hargis’s research has been published in journals including Personnel Psychology, Journal of Managerial Issues, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Organizational Development Journal and Human Relations.

Hargis serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Organizational Behavior.