MARQUETTE – Fred Joyal announced today he is stepping down from his position as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Northern Michigan University. 

NMU President Les Wong said Joyal will retain the position until a new person is hired. After that happens, Joyal will assume the title of special assistant to the president and be assigned to spearhead several NMU priority projects involving distance learning and university-wide entrepreneurial activity.  In essence, he will become the university’s economic development officer.

            “As Dr. Wong and I were discussing some of the places we’d like to take NMU in the next one to three years, we came to the same conclusion: these projects need more attention than a provost is able to give them while taking care of the daily academic operations of a growing university and trying to stay one step ahead of an ongoing budget situation,” said Joyal. 

“What we need, we decided, was someone familiar with the university who could take on these duties for the short-term and devote a tremendous amount of time and energy to them. Then it hit me that, that because I am considering retirement in the not-so-distant future, that I am that person who can serve this role.  I love this kind of work. Spearheading the Teaching, Learning and Communication (TLC) initiative – a project similar to those we want to shortly implement – was one of the most satisfying experiences of my career.”

Wong told a group of university faculty and staff at Wednesday’s university forum, where the announcement was made, that Joyal will be in charge of negotiations in the upcoming faculty union contract negotiations even if a person is hired to replace him in the provost position prior to the contract ratification.

            “If you know Dr. Joyal, you know it doesn’t matter what title he holds.  Fred is Northern Michigan University through and through,” said Wong.  “I applaud his work as NMU’s chief academic officer over the past several years and look forward to working with him hand-in-hand on university projects.  I know he is the guy who can work with the various committee members, faculty and staff to get these efforts completely off the ground.”

            Joyal was named NMU provost and vice president for academic affairs in 2001 after two years as the interim.  He joined the NMU geography faculty in 1976 and later was promoted to department head for geography, earth sciences, conservation and planning.  He also spent seven years as the university’s academic computing coordinator.  Prior to his current post, he was the associate provost for academic administration and planning for nine years.

Joyal earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NMU and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.  His academic background is in the areas of geography, economic development, and quantitative analysis. 

He has been a member of the City of Marquette Planning Commission; a board member for Northern Initiatives, Upper Great Lakes Educational Technology Inc.,, Marquette-Alger Instructional Technology Consortium, and; and a member of a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from Michigan universities which developed an economic plan for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Joyal has produced a number of economic impact analyses for private and public economic activities in the U.P. and elsewhere in Michigan. He has made numerous presentations on economic development and community planning issues at regional and national conferences.

Wong said a national search will begin immediately with a goal of having a new provost and vice president for academic affairs hired by July 1.

Prepared By
Cindy Paavola
Director of Communications