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UMW Names Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs

June 18, 2021

The University of Montana Western is pleased to announce that Dr. Ashley Carlson, currently Professor of English and Division Chair for the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at UMW, will begin a new role as Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs.

Carlson is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad for the 2019-2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields. At the University of Antananarivo, Carlson plans to teach courses that will focus on topics including nineteenth-century English and American literature as well as contemporary American television and popular culture. She also hopes to serve as a mentor for students in the Anglophone Studies department. Carlson earned her B.A. in English and French from Chapman University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from the University of New Mexico. During her stay, Carlson will research two prominent authors in British society in the 1800s, Sarah Stickney Ellis, and her husband, William Ellis. The research is an expansion on her 2011 doctoral dissertation focused on gender ideology in Sarah Stickney Ellis’s works. Both William and Sarah published several works about Madagascar based on William's visits as a missionary, and their commentaries were among the most prominent and widely read English-language texts about Madagascar in the 1860s in both England and the United States. Carlson plans to focus on writing a literary biography on William and Sarah during her time in Madagascar based on research from archival records relating to the London Missionary Society. She has already conducted archival research on the Ellis’s during several trips to England and is hoping to expand her research to other areas of the world where William Ellis travelled and worked. “One of the greatest things about archival research is that you never know what you might find. While I work on gathering information for my book project, I have no doubt that I will find many interesting bits of history that I can neither foresee nor imagine at this time. Most importantly, I intend to keep an open mind as I conduct my research,” said Carlson.

Dr. Carlson has a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of New Mexico and has published work on nineteenth-century literature, women’s studies, and popular culture. In 2019-20 she taught and conducted research in Madagascar as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. At the University of Montana Western, she has also served on Faculty Senate, as Vice President of the Faculty Union, and as Chair of the Department of English.

“Although Ashley is already a member of the Montana Western community, please join me in welcoming her into this new role. We look forward to her leadership in this position on our campus,” said Chancellor Michael Reid.

Current Interim Provost, Dr. Jenny McNulty, will begin her new position on July 1 at the University of Alaska Anchorage as the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences after serving as the Interim Provost at UMW for the past year. Dr. McNulty will continue her responsibilities as Provost through June 22 while working with Dr. Carlson through the transition. Dr. Carlson will officially start her new role and duties as Interim Provost on June 23.

A search for the next Provost will begin later this summer with the objective of identifying a permanent Provost by the end of 2021.