Wilson takes the reins

Dr. Ian Wilson. Randyl Nielson/UVU Review

The Business Administration building contains a second-floor office with a commanding view of this transforming campus. A UVU veteran, with 22-years experience as administrator and instructor, now occupies this office as the new VP of Academic Affairs.

Ian Wilson, who takes over the position from former VP Liz Hitch, now with the Utah System of Higher Education, brings with him a wealth of experience to the position. He has worked in human resource management, education administration and even as a secret messenger for the Canadian Department of the Treasury.

“I didn’t have [messages] handcuffed to my wrist or anything, but nobody could open it up but a member of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police,” Wilson said proudly, describing his messanger duties as a young man living in the city of Ottawa, Ont.

Wilson soon went on to attend BYU, receiving a bachelor’s in Sociology as well as a master’s in Organizational Behavior. While completing an internship as part of his master’s program at chemical giant C-I-L in their training and developments, Wilson gained valuable experience that led to a permanent position in their human resource department after graduation.

A few years later, while searching the classifieds for want ads, Wilson stumbled upon a business management department chair position being offered at Mount Royal College in Calgary, so he applied.

“I hadn’t had any teaching experience at the college level and I thought I probably wouldn’t get it,” Wilson said.

He was not offered the position, but the college informed him they had a full-time human resources position available. Wilson got the job as program manager for Mount Royal, along with teaching human resource management and organizational behavior.

Six years later, Wilson became Mount Royal’s department chair of business administration, which started him on the road to administrative duties. At the time, UVU was known as UVCC and was focusing on two-year transfer programs for its student growth. Lucille Stoddard, former academic VP, dean and interim president, was looking for a business school dean. With the help of business lecturer Bonner Ritchie, Wilson was contacted about joining the staff as dean.

“The year I arrived [in 1989], the institution was changing from the quarter to the semester system,” Wilson said. “They were re-doing the curriculum.”

A year or two later, the institution was interested in offering baccalaureate degrees which was highly opposed by other local universities.

“They were adamantly opposed to it,” Wilson said.

The board of regents was also divided on the issue, but the proposal was given approval for three bachelor’s programs to begin, including Business Management, Computer Science and Information Systems and Technology Management upper-division courses, which were all part of the business school.

“They wanted a few career-focused degrees,” Wilson said. “So the School of Business offered the first three degrees, basically. That was pretty exciting to be a part of that.”

In 2001, Wilson became associate VP of Institutional Advancement and the following year became the VP of Institutional Advancement and Marketing.

Being such a successful administrator for numerous years, Wilson wanted to return to teaching and did for two years, teaching HR and business statistics. In 2008, the business dean stepped down and Dr. Hitch asked Wilson to act as interim dean until the current dean, Norm Wright, came on board.

Wilson had planned on teaching classes this past summer when Dr. Hitch left the university and Pres. Holland asked him to act as interim VP of Academic Affairs this past June. Wilson was then named permanent VP on Oct. 19.

As the academic VP, Wilson enjoys working with Pres. Holland and building strong relationships with the college deans.
“Pres. Holland is such a good guy and has a great vision of the institution, Wilson said. “I have worked with the deans for a long time and they are a great group.”

Wilson is excited to get to work as VP and answer the question, along with the president and deans, ‘What kind of a university are we going to be?’

“It is really a lot of fun helping to build something,” Wilson said.

With his broad background and experience, Wilson hopes people realize that he will always try to be honest, open, participative and listening, doing his best to make optimal decisions for a rapidly growing university.

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