Provost Susan Edwards was named Wright State University’s next president by the university’s Board of Trustees.
Edwards will assume the role Jan. 1 and will serve as the university’s eighth president.
In a unanimous vote, the trustees on Oct. 26 selected Edwards to succeed President Cheryl B. Schrader, who plans to retire Dec. 31.
“After carefully considering the best options for the university and after discussing the matter with employee and student leaders, we believe Dr. Edwards is the right person to take the university forward,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We are confident Dr. Edwards will keep the university focused on providing an excellent education for our students and position Wright State to better serve the economic needs of the region, particularly in the high demand areas of health care, technology and business, as well as supporting the employment, educational and research needs of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.”
Edwards said she is proud of Wright State, how it serves students and the region and is honored and humbled to serve the university and its partners as Wright State’s eighth president.
“We have so much going for us. We are committed to providing a high quality, high outcome education,” she said. “And I’ve enjoyed my opportunity to engage with faculty, staff and students and continue conversations this semester so that we may work together to move the university forward.”
Edwards, who was named provost in May 2018, said that the university must continue to focus on enrollment, retention and bolstering university partnerships.
“Student success is the umbrella; retention, experiential learning and high quality classroom education are the three things that fall underneath it,” she said.
Edwards is committed to fostering a welcome and inclusive campus for students, faculty and staff.
“We have made a concerted effort to recruit a more diverse student body. This year’s incoming freshman class is the most diverse in Wright State’s history,” she said. “And I wish that to continue.”
As president, Edwards is looking forward to improving relations with the community and being very vocal about telling the Wright State story.
Prior to coming to Wright State, Edwards served as vice provost for faculty affairs and professor of biology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She was responsible for overseeing all areas of faculty evaluation and development and served as the academic affairs liaison on all personnel matters.
In 2007, Edwards left her native Australia to join the Department of Biology at Appalachian State. She then took on a leadership role as assistant chair for three years before being appointed chair of the department in 2012.
Previously, she was the Australian equivalent of an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences at James Cook University in Australia. She also served as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia Southern University.
To date, Edwards has developed and taught over 21 courses in 10 different degree programs ranging from general biology to medicine. Edwards has published more than 30 research papers and two book chapters, co-edited the book “Hagfish Biology,” served on the editorial board of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology from 2006 to 2018 and currently serves as the immediate past president of the Physiology Section of the American Fisheries Society.
Since her arrival in the United States, she has secured almost $1.3 million in research funding from the National Science Foundation.
Edwards received a Ph.D. in comparative physiology from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, an M.S. in neuroscience from The University of Melbourne and a B.S. in biology from Deakin.