James Votruba

In the world of higher education, Dr. James Votruba is widely known for his leadership, his scholarship, and his keen insight as an administrator. After a long career at Michigan State University and other institutions where he distinguished himself for his integrity and commitment, Dr. Votruba became president of the University of Northern Kentucky on August 1, 1997. For Dr. Votruba, the presidency of the University of Northern Kentucky was the latest challenge and opportunity in a career that has been fully invested in the academic enterprise.

In many ways, Dr. Votruba has spent his entire life around higher education having grown up in East Lansing. He began his career at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as assistant head of the Division of Extramural Courses and assistant professor of higher education. In 1983, he was appointed dean of the School of Education and Human Development at the State University of New York at Binghampton. In 1989, Dr. Votruba returned to Michigan State University as vice provost for university outreach. As vice provost, he was in charge of all aspects of the university’s academic outreach mission, which involved extending and applying the research, teaching, and professional expertise of the faculty for the benefit of external audiences. Among his greatest achievements at MSU was his leadership of a $10 million Kellogg Foundation-funded project that expand public access to the university’s scholarly expertise. The project forged a new model of outreach at MSU, and his leadership has left an indelible mark on the institution. In his time as president of the University of Northern Kentucky, Dr. Votruba has been lauded for fostering “meaningful dialogue” that has helped shape the university’s goals, and his far-sighted leadership in setting the agenda for the 12,000-student campus.

Dr. Votruba is the complete Spartan with his B.A. and M.A. in political science, and Ph.D. in higher education administration all from Michigan State University.

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