Dr. Nelson Soto named Provost & VP Academic Affairs

CINCINNATI, OH – Union Institute & University President Roger H. Sublett announced the appointment of Nelson Soto, Ph.D. as provost and vice president for academic affairs. Dr. Soto will provide leadership to assure the quality of the university’s academic programs, advancing the university’s mission of engaging, enlightening and empowering students, and continuing development of enrollment. Dr. Soto replaces Dr. Richard S. Hansen who retired in January 2013 after serving for eight years.

Dr. Soto comes to Union Institute & University from Harrison College, Indianapolis, where he served as associate provost and vice president for curriculum and instruction since 2010. Prior to Harrison College, he served as an assistant dean in the graduate office at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) from 2008 to 2010 and as an instructional development specialist at IUPUI’s Center for Teaching and Learning from 2005 to 2008. Dr. Soto has served as faculty at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in the School of Education; at Indiana University, College of Arts and Sciences; University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Education; and the University of Cincinnati, University College.

In announcing the appointment, Dr. Sublett said, “Dr. Soto comes to Union at an important moment in the university’s history. As we prepare to celebrate 50 years in 2014, he brings a renewed sense of the visionary and entrepreneurial perspective held by our founders when they sought to create a new university in 1964.” Dr. Sublett continued, “Nelson will help us all to solidify our unique university’s distinctions, and to provide rigorous academic programs, complete with the appropriate technology and skill sets that fit the lifestyles of today’s adults –students from across a wide spectrum of cultures and identities who balance education, career, and community responsibilities in a changing environment.”

Dr. Sublett also noted that Dr. Soto will play a pivotal role in the life of the university, its administration, and its students. This position addresses the needs of a diverse adult student population across all levels of baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral programs. With oversight for all aspects of academic programs, policies, strategies and initiatives, as well as the accreditation process and continuing assessment for the university, Dr. Soto will work collaboratively with constituents across the spectrum to ensure the advancement and strength of the entire institution.

Dr. Soto holds a Ph.D. in educational policy studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati. His dissertation research focused on teachers’ perceptions and beliefs of Latino middle school immigrants, particularly rural communities that witnessed an increase in Latino immigrants within the past decade.

He has focused on access and retention, faculty and organizational development, administration of programs for marginalized student populations, creating and fostering internal and external relationships, and assessment. As the campus director for the National Science Foundation, Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate at IUPUI, he managed the federal grant, while developing and fostering relationships with Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He also was responsible for promoting teaching excellence among faculty through consultations, course design, and facilitation of workshops on best practices in teaching and student learning.

A founder of the Multicultural Teaching and Learning Institute at IUPUI, he created a forum for faculty members to promote multicultural content in teaching and curriculum, including multicultural course transformation and serving students with disabilities. He was also charged with enhancing minority attainment diversity, and served on the Diversity Assessment Team, promoting multicultural course transformation within the School of Education curriculum.

Dr. Soto has served on several boards, including Harvard Business Publishing Advisory Board, Cengage Private Sector Advisory Board, Pearson Service Learning Board, and was chair of the Harrison College Military Advisory Board. He has received numerous grants for his research and efforts, including from the Office for Professional Development, Research Grant ($20,000), the Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate Dissertation Grant, a Professional and Organizational Development Network Grant, and the Maris M. Proffitt and Mary Higgins Proffitt Fellowship at Indiana University.

Dr. Soto has also served as a program coordinator of the McNair Scholars Program at the University of Missouri-Columbia; and a graduate coordinator of ethnic programs and services and judicial affairs at the University of Cincinnati.