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Dr. Laurie Couch
Dr. Laurie Couch

Couch Announced as Next SU Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

SALISBURY, MD---An academic leader with nearly three decades of classroom and administrative success will be Salisbury University’s next provost and senior vice president of academic affairs when Dr. Laurie Couch steps into the position on June 30.

Coming to Salisbury from Morehead State University, KY, she will oversee faculty, research, study abroad/away and other components of SU’s academic mission following a national search.

“Dr. Couch has a demonstrated record of working closely with faculty, staff and students to ensure the best academic experience possible,” said SU President Carolyn Ringer Lepre. “Her background in teaching, research, enrollment, retention, strategic planning, course design and grant writing, along with her commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, undergraduate research and student success, make her an ideal addition to Salisbury. I look forward to working with her as we continue to move SU forward with excellence.”

“I am committed to the ideals of Salisbury University and the forward-looking, transparent approach SU is taking toward its vision of planning for student success in all aspects of University work,” said Couch. “I am eager and ready to take the next step with Salisbury.”

At SU, Couch will oversee academic policy and budgeting, curriculum, faculty development, student advising and support, enrollment and retention, assessment, instructional technology and accreditation, as well as University outreach such as Delmarva Public Media.

As associate provost for undergraduate education and student success at Morehead State since 2016, her accomplishments have included increasing first-to-second-year student retention, supplemental instruction use and graduation rates while reducing the time students take to earn their degrees.

She also launched new undergraduate and graduate programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), increased winter term course offerings by 350% and enrollment by more than 150%, and successfully pursued articulation agreements with several colleges and universities.

In addition, she has supported campus diversity, equity and inclusion by sponsoring inclusive teaching workshops for faculty, instituting cultural competency training for all first-year students, reducing equity gaps for underrepresented minority student retention, and hiring diverse leaders into key roles.

At Morehead, Couch oversees a general education review task force and serves as director of general education. She also is the academic affairs lead for the university’s strategic planning team, manages its curriculum and scheduling strategies and leads its student success strategy.

“My leadership style tends to be relational, strategic and data-oriented,” she said. “I value shared governance, accountability, continuous improvement, and the significance of a well-designed, high-quality educational experience. I am mindful of the impact of decisions and courses of action on those around me, and I work hard to do what is best for them as I do what is best for the institution.”

Couch joined Morehead State as an assistant professor of psychology in 1997, advancing to associate professor in 2002. She served as interim department chair from 2007-11 before moving into her current administrative role in 2016. Prior to her time at Morehead, she held teaching positions at the University of Tennessee and at Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Her academic background includes over 100 publications and conference presentations, as well as more than $400,000 in research and program grants. She has served as associate editor for the Kentucky Journal for Undergraduate Scholarship, consulting editor for the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research and a reviewer for several scholarly publications, including the Journal of Social Psychology and Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

She has received multiple academic and professional honors, including the Kentucky Psychological Association’s Outstanding Mentor Award and the Morehead State University Student Government Association Outstanding Faculty Award. In addition, she holds memberships in a number of professional organizations, including the Council on Undergraduate Research and the Association for the Study of Higher Education, and is a past president of the Southeastern Psychological Association.

Couch earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in experimental psychology from the University of Tennessee and her B.A. in psychology from Mississippi State University.

Learn more about opportunities to Make Tomorrow Yours at the SU website.