The University of Central Arkansas named Patricia S. Poulter as its new provost and executive vice president of academic affairs March 14 .

The appointment came after months of searching; in total, 58 applicants applied for the position.

The top four candidates, selected by the 19-member provost search committee with the help of Parker Executive Search out of Georgia, visited the campus in late February, early March to meet with groups including the executive staff, staff senate, students, deans and chairs, faculty senate and the student government association as well as receive a campus tour.

Poulter, from Kennesaw State University, was among them.

“My experience was very positive,” she said. “The search process was exactly what I would expect from a genuine national search. It was professional, transparent, and engaged a variety of stakeholders.”

Poulter said during the visit, everyone she met was positive, welcoming and invested in the success of every student, a characteristic of UCA that initially drew her in.

“I was impressed with what I learned about UCA’s mission, focus on student success and community engagement,” she said. “It seemed like a very positive place to be, and I hoped I could contribute to the good work already occurring.”

Poulter said she observed that the community took “great pride” in having all three colleges — Central Baptist College, Hendrix College and UCA — an integral part of Conway and the region.

As far as qualifications go, she said her career, which has spanned from teaching public school through serving as dean of the largest universities in the U.S., has taught her service, life-long learning and progressive roles in leadership.

“I have experience with complex budgets, curriculum, personnel, development, community engagement and advocacy,” Poulter said. “I have a deep affinity for public comprehensive universities and their educational mission.”

All of which will help when she steps into her position at UCA July 1.

In her new role, Poulter will oversee UCA’s six colleges, the graduate school, the Schedler Honors College and University College.

According to a news release from UCA, Poulter will “also develop a strategic direction and supervise activities that support and advance UCA’s mission,” and will report directly to UCA President Houston Davis.

“My first priorities are to listen and learn as much as I can about UCA, the people who comprise the university and community, and their dreams for UCA,” she said. “Together we can identify the strengths we carry forward and the challenges we face as we set about shaping the future of UCA."