Brandon E. Schwab has been named the new vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at the University of Illinois Springfield. He will serve as vice chancellor-designate until formal approval by the Board of Trustees. He will start in his new role on July 17.
He comes to UIS from Western Carolina University where he’s served as associate provost for academic affairs and a tenured professor in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources since 2014. As associate provost, he oversaw all aspects of faculty affairs, curriculum approvals, undergraduate research and several other areas.
“I am incredibly excited and humbled by this opportunity to serve as the next vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at UIS,” Schwab said. “I know firsthand how lives are transformed by public higher education, and I am grateful to join an institution that makes such a dynamic difference in the lives of its students, their families and the broader community. I felt an immediate connection to the faculty, staff and students I met on campus, and I can’t wait to partner with Chancellor Gooch and her leadership team as we work with the campus community to overcome obstacles and capitalize on the opportunities ahead. I look forward to joining the Springfield community and to being a proud Prairie Star.”
Before moving to the southern Appalachians, Schwab rose through the faculty ranks to become a tenured professor and chair of geology at Humboldt State University (now Humboldt Polytechnic) in Arcata, California. Understanding how impactful engagement in research was in his own development, he built his research agenda around undergraduate students. He was awarded a fellowship to the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution and is a big proponent of professional development, both his own and for others.
Schwab said one of his greatest strengths is his ability to identify underlying issues and bring together individuals with diverse and complementary strengths to address the challenge or opportunity at hand. At Western Carolina University, he led the development of a promotion pathway for non-tenure track faculty, worked with faculty and others to reform academic program development and review processes and co-founded an equity-advocate program for faculty search committees, as well as a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Community of Practice. He has shepherded the approval of more than a dozen new academic program offerings at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels and helped establish the University Research Council to elevate and support scholarly and creative activities across the institution.
Schwab is a first-generation college graduate who grew up in rural north central Ohio. He earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a doctorate in geological sciences from the University of Oregon.
He enjoys being outdoors, seeing live music and flat-water kayaking. Schwab and his spouse, Angie, a non-profit management and rural economic development professional, are proud parents of two sons, Avery, a senior at North Carolina State University, and Harper, a third-year student at the University of Chicago.