UNC administrator Gretchen M. Bataille named sole finalist for UNT presidency

Dr. Gretchen M. Bataille
Dr. Gretchen M. Bataille, UNT President
Dr. Gretchen Bataille
Dr. Gretchen M. Bataille, UNT President
Thursday, July 6, 2006

DENTON (UNTS), Texas -- Today, July 6, the University of North Texas System Board of Regents approved a recommendation from Chancellor Lee Jackson to name Dr. Gretchen M. Bataille as the sole finalist for the presidency of the University of North Texas -- the system's flagship campus in Denton.

If confirmed by the regents later this month, Bataille (pronounced Bah-tie) will become UNT's 14th president and the first woman in the university's 116-year history to hold the position of chief executive officer.

The naming of Bataille, 61, as the sole finalist completes a nationwide search begun in September 2005, following Dr. Norval Pohl's declaration last summer of his plans to step down from the UNT presidency by August 31 of this year. Today's public announcement also begins the minimum 21-day period required by Texas law before the UNT regents can vote to officially appoint Bataille to the position.

UNT System Board of Regents Chairman Bobby Ray said, "We are pleased that Dr. Gretchen Bataille is ready to lead UNT in all of its diverse endeavors.  She has the energy, experience, and enthusiasm to continue the progress we have made at UNT and to lead us to new levels of success."

Since 2000, Bataille has served as the chief academic officer of the 16-campus University of North Carolina system. For the past year, she had an additional assignment as interim chancellor* of UNC's  North Carolina School of the Arts. Bataille is a tenured professor of English at UNC-Chapel Hill.

As the UNC system's senior vice president for academic affairs, Bataille led the academic planning for all of the UNC system campuses, comprising a total enrollment of about 196,000 students. The UNC system is composed of the state's 16 public universities granting baccalaureate and advanced degrees, including two medical schools and schools of dentistry, pharmacy, public health and veterinary medicine. The scope of her responsibilities as the system's highest ranking academic officer included oversight of strategic planning and budgeting, research, student affairs, international programs and advising the UNC president and board of governors on academic issues.

As interim chancellor of NCSA, Bataille was CEO of an institution serving more than 1,100 junior-high to graduate students training for professional careers in the arts in five professional schools – dance, design and production (visual arts), drama, film and music. NCSA was the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation.

"I am confident that Dr. Bataille has the background to strengthen UNT's academic and research vision and the personal skills to be a very effective campus and community leader," said Jackson. "Our students, faculty, staff and UNT community members will appreciate her thoughtful and personal style and will benefit from her national perspective on solutions to the challenges facing higher education."

Bataille says she is "excited about the opportunity to lead UNT, especially given the university's student-centered emphasis."

"UNT has a long history of serving the North Texas region, and with the strength of its faculty and students it's well positioned to be better recognized nationally and internationally. It will be my responsibility to ensure that the university achieves the level of prominence it deserves," she said.

Bataille has served as provost and academic vice president at Washington State University and provost of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She also served as associate dean for academic personnel in Arizona State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and chair of its English Department and as acting associate dean of instruction at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

A recognized scholar of Native American literature, Bataille's professional career has focused on issues of diversity, civil rights and ethnic studies.

Bataille began her teaching career as a member of the English faculty at Iowa State University. During her tenure, she initiated and chaired the American Indian Studies Program and directed numerous conferences and symposia on Native Americans and ethnic studies.

She chaired the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and wrote the grant that created the American Indian Institute at ASU, where Bataille also chaired the President's Committee for Assessment for Quality and Diversity. She served as a member of the Council of Academic Affairs of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and on the board of the Research Triangle Institute.

Bataille currently serves as the vice chair and a trustee of the College Board and serves on the boards of the North Carolina Humanities Council and the North Carolina Public Television Foundation, among others.

Originally from Indiana, Bataille earned her bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in English education from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. She earned a doctorate in English from Drake University and has completed management development programs at Harvard University and the University of California. Bataille is a widow and the mother of two grown children --Erin Hettinga Crail and Marc Hettinga.

The Regents and Jackson selected Bataille from a diverse pool of candidates recommended by a 19-member search advisory committee co-chaired by Regents Gayle Strange of Denton and Robert Nickell of Dallas. The advisory committee included UNT faculty, staff and students as well as community leaders. Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm, aided the system and the committee in the search process.

*In the University of North Carolina system, the position of chancellor is the UNT System equivalent of a presidency. Likewise, the UNC president is the UNT System equivalent of the chancellorship.

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