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December 4, 2023 – Institutional Announcements from President Marrero

December 4, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

As we head into the final weeks of the semester and look toward the new calendar year, I want to share a few institutional updates with you.

I first want to inform you that Dr. John Lester, our Vice President for University Communications and Marketing, will be starting a new chapter as the Vice President for External Affairs at Columbus State University. His last day with us will be December 8. I want to express my deepest gratitude for the invaluable contributions he has made to Georgia Southern throughout his tenure. He not only steered us through challenging times such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but also played a pivotal role in elevating our brand, fostering enrollment growth, and supporting our fundraising efforts.

Upon Dr. Lester’s departure, and as we continue to solve and evolve through efforts of continuous improvement and organizational alignment to meet the opportunities ahead and achieve our goals, the following organizational changes will go into effect in support of several key initiatives.

Effective January 1, Dr. Annalee Ashley will assume the role of Vice President for External Affairs, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives; as well as Chief of Staff to the President (VP ECS and CoS). In this role, Dr. Ashley will provide coordination and oversight in the development and implementation of strategic initiatives within the office of the President and in collaboration with institutional leadership; oversee institutional communications; and lead the university’s strategy for governmental and public relations, corporate engagement, and community relations. These aligned efforts will be instrumental as we promote our public impact agenda and elevate Georgia Southern’s position in support of the growing needs of our region and our state. Under the leadership of Dr. Ale Sosa Pieroni, Executive Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing, and Student Success, we will conduct a national search to hire a Chief Marketing Officer that will drive institutional marketing efforts and continue to work closely with institutional communications.

In our pursuit of institutional excellence grounded in evidence-based leadership principles and a culture of high performance, Dr. Dominique Quarles’s role will be expanded January 1 to lead an integrated approach that combines institutional organizational effectiveness, leadership and professional development, and inclusive excellence initiatives into a coordinated effort in support of our vision to grow ourselves so that we can grow others. As Associate Vice President for Organizational Effectiveness, Leadership Development, and Inclusive Excellence (AVP for OELDIE), Dr. Quarles will work in concert with divisional and departmental leadership, Human Resources, and the Center for Teaching Excellence to coordinate, implement, and assess institutional programs that enhance performance excellence, organizational effectiveness, professional development for current and potential institutional leaders, and a sense of belonging for our campus community.

Finally, after a national search, we would like to welcome Dr. David Weindorf, Ph.D. to Georgia Southern University as the new Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED) starting April 1, 2024. Dr. Weindorf brings with him years of experience both as an accomplished scientist and as the Vice President for Research at Central Michigan University (CMU). Weindorf  has served at CMU since 2020 as the Vice President for Research and Innovation. He has led CMU to a 32% increase in extramural funding, a 39% increase in scholarly output, and an 85% increase in research impact. Dr. Weindorf also helped CMU become an officially designated Space Grant institution. He also holds several patents, was a Fulbright Scholar in 2011 and a Fulbright Specialist in 2018, and won the Presidential Award in 2017 from the Soil Science Society of America. Dr. Weindorf holds a B.S. in Range Management, M.S. in Soil Science (geochemistry minor), and a Ph.D. in Agronomy from Texas Tech University (TTU). Dr. Weindorf will also be a Professor in the School of Earth, Environment, and Sustainability. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Weindorf to Eagle Nation and look forward to his vision and leadership as we SOAR to R1, building our organizational infrastructure and aligning our institution toward greater public impact.

I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Dr. Chris Curtis for his exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication, both of which have been instrumental in propelling us to our current state of excellence. Dr. Curtis will continue to guide us on our journey through April 1, ensuring a seamless transition and maintaining the momentum of our accomplishments.

Thank you to all who have participated in our assessment, evaluation, and search efforts as we evolve to meet the needs of our students, our region, our state, and beyond. I am confident that these leadership additions and transitions will advance our institutional objectives, and with your support, we will continue to soar to new and greater heights.



Last updated: 12/4/2023