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UNCP’s Frederick named top academic officer at Wingate University

by Chuck Gordon

Wingate University has named a new provost to lead the academic enterprise of the institution. Dr. Jeff Frederick will start in his new post on July 1.

Frederick is currently the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Pembroke, where he has worked for 17 years as a history professor, faculty athletic representative, department chair,  and now dean. As Wingate’s provost, Frederick will serve as the chief academic officer for the University and will be in charge of all academic programs on Wingate’s three campuses, including recruiting, supporting and assessing the performance of faculty members.

In addition to the academic disciplines, included in the Provost’s functional areas of oversight and responsibility are accreditation compliance, institutional effectiveness and assessment, student engagement and advising, the Office of the Registrar, and the library. There are more than 400 full-time employees in the disciplines and functions supervised by the provost, including approximately 207 full-time, 20 visiting and 182 adjunct faculty members.

Additionally, Frederick will lead the Provost Council and serve on the President’s Cabinet and Senior Leadership Team. He will also serve as the second-ranking University officer and thus act in the absence of the president.

At UNCP, Frederick oversees 14 academic departments, more than 200 faculty members and nearly 4,000 of UNCP’s 7,700 students. Wingate’s total enrollment for the recently concluded academic year was 3,681.

Dr. Jeff Frederick

Aside from faculty size and enrollment, there are other similarities between Frederick’s current position and his new one. UNC Pembroke and Wingate serve students with similar backgrounds, and both have seen tremendous growth in the past few years. Between 2007 and 2017, Wingate was the eighth-fastest-growing private doctoral-level university in the country. UNC Pembroke has grown 23 percent in the past two years.

“I think for Jeff’s entire career at UNC Pembroke, it’s almost as if he’s been preparing to be the provost at Wingate,” says Wingate University President Dr. Rhett Brown. “It’s a really good match.”

As dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at UNCP, Frederick helped create the College of Health Sciences, developed a new winter academic term, and established the “Innovation Council,” a group of junior and midcareer faculty members who meet to tackle one faculty-related problem (work-life balance, challenges for women in higher education, etc.) each year.

Frederick characterizes himself as a good listener who likes to find practical solutions to problems. Above all else, perhaps, he’s enthusiastic about his career calling.

“We work at a college. How cool is that?” he says. “We’re surrounded by a bunch of really bright, energetic people. We’re surrounded by a bunch of students who are hungry to get better at something, and we have the privilege to prepare them for the rest of their lives.”

“What stood out to me was his energy,” says Dr. Barry Cuffe, a business professor who served on the search committee. “I think he has great communication skills. At the end of the day, you want somebody you can believe in. I just feel good about what he stands for.”

After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 1987, Frederick began his career in sales and marketing. But as he and his wife, Melinda, began thinking about starting a family, he decided he wanted to cut down on his travel, so he went back to school.

Frederick earned a Ph.D in history from Auburn University and soon landed at UNC Pembroke, where he has steadily climbed the academic ladder. His research interests revolve around Southern history: politics; sports; and race, class, and gender. His list of published research, journal reviews and speaking engagements is lengthy, and he was presented with eight teaching awards during his time at UNCP and was twice a finalist for the UNC Board of Governors Teaching Award.

Frederick says he enjoys the research element of academia but is most impressed by Wingate’s focus on teaching and mentoring students. At Wingate, no classes are taught by teaching assistants, and class sizes have remained relatively small as the University has grown.

“A lot of universities say they are student-centered, but Wingate really is,” Frederick says. “And the faculty are allowed to be teacher-scholar-mentors. They teach relatively small class sizes and get a chance to get their ideas out into the intellectual marketplace through publication and presentation, and they get to know their students firsthand.”

Frederick’s wife, Melinda, is a mental-health counselor and senior director of quality management at Community Based Care. The couple has three sons: Logan, 24; Jack, 22; and Quinton, 18.

May 11, 2020