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IU Northwest News

Meet Mark McPhail, Ph.D., committed to ensuring equity in education


New EVCAA brings experience in teaching, research to new administrative role

Wednesday Sep 02, 2015


Indiana University Northwest recently welcomed Mark McPhail, Ph.D., to its executive team.

McPhail, who most recently served as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is an accomplished scholar in the field of communication. With more than 15 years of administrative experience in higher education, McPhail has spent the majority of his career as both a researcher and faculty member and is excited to now be serving in an administrative capacity as Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Making sure that education is available for all populations is important to McPhail and, in his new role, he aims to stay focused on this ideal. In fact, he says that this value is largely what inspired him to come to IU Northwest.

“It is absolutely critical that educators remain committed to serving all populations and ensuring equity,” McPhail said. “That piece of the Chancellor’s vision is what inspired me to come here.”

Inspired by his own upbringing, one in which four of seven siblings chose education as their careers, McPhail is well aware that his own opportunities came largely as a result of leaders who worked toward ensuring education for those who, historically, have been left behind.

Originally from Cambridge, Mass., “but not the Harvard part of Cambridge,” McPhail said that his parents were not educators, as many people sometimes assume. Rather, he and his six siblings were all first-generation college students, raised by a single mother, widowed when the McPhail children were quite young.

While struggles for underserved populations remain, McPhail referred to the importance of serving emerging non-traditional populations like older adults and veterans.

“Now, as education becomes almost unaffordable for many students -- where rankings are all about ACTs and SATs -- it is critical that institutions remain committed to serving people who historically have not been served,” he said.

These are among the issues he hopes to influence in his leadership role at IU Northwest.

McPhail will exercise broad responsibilities for all aspects of the academic and student dimensions of the campus in coordination with Chancellor William J. Lowe and other university leaders. In his role, McPhail will serve as an active and substantive contributor to the strategic direction of academic programs, continuous strengthening of academic excellence and effective day-to-day operation of the IU Northwest campus, as well as the advancement of Indiana University.

“IU Northwest's commitment to diversity, access, community engagement, and academic excellence are very much in line with my own personal and professional values, and throughout the interviewing process I felt a very strong sense of connection and alignment with all of the students, staff and faculty I encountered,” McPhail said. “I'm very excited about joining Chancellor Lowe's leadership team and becoming a member of the Indiana University Northwest family. In every way it feels like a perfect match.”

Prior to his role at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, McPhail served as Chair for the Division of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University; Chair of the Department of Communication at Miami University of Ohio; and Acting Chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. He also taught at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and Emerson College.

He earned his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts in Rhetoric and Public Address, Master of Arts from Northwestern University in Performance Studies, and Bachelor of Science from Emerson College in Speech.

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