Summer brings several changes to Reinhardt: some are physical changes students will notice immediately stepping onto campus, and others will impact the University over time as leaders in new roles present fresh ideas to enhance the students’ experiences.
Various areas of the University will experience leadership changes taking place July 1. Current director of athletics Bill Popp will assume the role of vice president of athletics and athletic director. In the academic realm, Dr. Jacob Harney will add the role of the Associate Provost of Academics position to his current role as dean of the School of Mathematics and Sciences.
In addition to further developing the Eagles Club and other fundraising efforts with associate athletic director Jeffrey Pourchier – a change in assignment for Pourchier – and the Office of University Advancement, Popp hopes his position will allow him more interaction with athletic supporters off campus.
“I felt like this was an opportunity to expand athletics external operations. In other words, I would have a chance to go out and engage the community,” said Popp.
This past year, Harney acted as interim dean for the McCamish School of Business and is a professor and researcher of biology. With this new role, President Dr. Kina Mallard said Harney will assist Provost Dr. Mark Roberts in his responsibilities, such as “leading academic initiatives and special academic programs, working with academic issues related to student petitions and appeals, supporting efforts to improve professional development workshops and faculty recruitment and overseeing promotion and tenure processes of faculty.”
Harney believes his new position will allow Provost Roberts to be more accessible to faculty and staff and provide him more time to focus on his main responsibilities.
“I expect the addition of this position will assist in the overall effectiveness of the Provost’s Office allowing it to better meet the increased demands of a growing institution,” said Harney.
Popp started his Reinhardt career as a baseball coach in 2004, becoming director of athletics in 2011. He was named National Association of Collegiate Directors Athletics Director of the Year and Under-Armour Athletic Director of the Year in 2016-17. He was also the recipient of Appalachian Athletic Conference Director of the Year for both the 2012-13 and 2016-17 academic years.
Although he had a hand in numerous achievements, Popp plans to continue his ambitions for the athletic department. His long-term goals include “to continue to improve our existing facilities as well as build new facilities like tennis and track facilities on campus.” His short-term goals deal with managing enrollment, improving academic success for student-athletes and team competitiveness.
With his new role, Harney wants to aid in the University becoming more efficient, effective and successful, saying the SACSCOC accreditation process is very helpful when it comes to self-assessing and showing what needs improvement.
“I hope to mentor and support faculty in their pursuit of knowledge, development of teaching and advising expertise and service to the students, University and community,” said Harney. “I intend to work closely with the provost and deans to try and help manage the academic challenges that are unique to each school. Lastly, I intend to mentor students, which I have been doing for over 25 years in higher education. The names and the times change but the need for advising, mentoring and empowering never ends.”
Popp said he is driven by great relationships and servant leadership and loves working with working with student-athletes, valuing his contact with every team, as well as with faculty and staff.
“It is such a pleasure to serve with such great faculty and staff who really care about our student’s needs and to also serve on the President’s Cabinet with a president that has vision, direction and manages all according to the mission of the University,” said Popp. “That along with a group of vice presidents that can be independent thinkers and yet all pull together to help make decisions for the good of Reinhardt University, is what Reinhardt is really all about.”