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John Barthell Named University of Central Oklahoma Provost

John Barthell, Ph.D.

May 14, 2013

Media Contact:  Courtney Harlin, University Relations Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma, 405-974-2121,


University of Central Oklahoma President Don Betz has announced John Barthell, Ph.D., will serve as the university’s next provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Barthell, who currently serves as the dean of Central’s College of Mathematics and Science, will officially take the position July 1 upon current Provost William Radke’s retirement.

“Dr. Barthell brings a combination of relevant successful experience, expertise and demonstrated collaborative leadership skills to this role,” Betz said. 

“He has been an active contributor to UCO's continuing growth, development and planning. He is an accomplished scholar and teacher who significantly advanced UCO's recognized undergraduate research efforts. He is a proven advocate of transformative learning and understands UCO's pivotal dynamic role in the metro and state.”

That understanding comes from Barthell’s 18 years at UCO, seven of those as the dean for the College of Mathematics and Science, as well as experience as the college’s associate dean and the assistant dean for Central’s Jackson College of Graduate Studies.

“I want to thank President Betz for this opportunity. It is a genuine honor to follow Provost Radke and advance our mission to help students learn through transformative learning experiences,” Barthell said.

“Moving forward, we will encourage our connection to a thriving metropolitan community through key collaborations on and off campus, while always maintaining our relevance as higher education continues to rapidly change and become increasingly globalized.” 

Barthell considers undergraduate research important to maintaining that relevance. To that end, he serves as the principal investigator of three National Science Foundation grants that support research at Central. He also started the Center for Undergraduate Research and Education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), which has developed into a national model for encouraging research in these areas.

Barthell serves on the national Council on Undergraduate Research, leading its Faculty Rewards and Recognition Committee and working as an evaluation facilitator for universities in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Barthell also participates in the Oklahoma ArtScience Prize program for Oklahoma City high school students through Creative Oklahoma, and is the author of more than 50 articles, many of which address topics relating to Central’s transformative learning practices.

Barthell earned his B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley.

Ideally located just north of Oklahoma City in Edmond, Okla., the University of Central Oklahoma is the state’s largest metropolitan university, serving more than 17,000 students pursuing degrees in 116 undergraduate and 58 graduate major areas of study and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.           

Founded as a teachers’ college in 1890, Central considers itself an institution where teaching comes first, and, with a 19:1 student/faculty ratio, students can enjoy personal relationships with faculty and staff who are committed to transforming lives.             

For more information about UCO, visit


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Cutline:  John Barthell, Ph.D., was recently named the University of Central Oklahoma’s new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. He will formally take the position July 1 upon the retirement of the current provost.