Indiana State University Newsroom

Curtis to be named 12th president of Indiana State

November 9, 2017

Deborah J. Curtis, current provost and chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri, will be recommended for appointment as the 12th president of Indiana State University during a special Board of Trustees meeting next week, David Campbell, chair of the ISU Board of Trustees, announced today.

"I am very pleased to announce my intention to recommend the appointment of Deborah Curtis as our next president. Dr. Curtis brings a breadth of experience from her roles at Central Missouri and Illinois State, and I am confident she will build upon the tremendous success that has been achieved in the past 10 years and advance Indiana State to even greater heights," Campbell said.

"My husband and I are just delighted with this opportunity to become part of the Indiana State University community," Curtis said.

"This is a special time in the evolution of Indiana State in the state, region and nation due to the tremendous accomplishments that have occurred under the leadership of President Dan Bradley and his wife, Cheri. I am excited to begin working on furthering that progress," she added.

Curtis has served as the provost and chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri since 2012. In that role, her responsibilities have included overseeing all academic programs and support services including the university's four academic colleges, the library and extended studies, as well as enrollment management, information technology and student affairs.

Curtis was selected following a national search, which drew more than 70 candidates. Campbell praised the presidential search committee and its chair, Trustee Jeff Taylor, along with Ryan Crawford from the Storbeck Pimental executive search firm, for their work.

"It was a thorough and transparent process, and the Board of Trustees deeply appreciates the widespread participation by the campus and community. This was a difficult decision, as we were fortunate to have two exceptional finalists," Campbell said. Michael Licari, Indiana State's provost and vice president for academic affairs, was the other finalist.

Curtis will be the second Indiana State graduate and the first woman to serve as president of Indiana State. She earned her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Indiana State after completing a master's degree in music education from the University of Illinois and a bachelor's in music education from MacMurray College. She also taught at University School, Indiana State's laboratory school, for one year to fill in for a teacher on maternity leave, a role which she indicated led to her decision to pursue her doctorate and a career in higher education.

"I discovered how much I enjoyed working with the college students who did their field experiences at the lab school and decided to earn my Ph.D. Obtaining my doctorate from Indiana State was the launching pad for my entire career in higher education. I am a proud alum and am thrilled to be returning to ISU to serve in this role," Curtis said.

The only other Indiana State president who was an alumnus of Indiana State was its third president, William Wood Parsons, who was a member of the first graduating class in 1872.

Prior to becoming provost at Central Missouri, Curtis served as dean of the College of Education at Illinois State University from 2006 to 2012, interim dean from 2005 to 2006 and as director of the Cecilia J. Lauby Teacher Education Center and Clinical Experiences and Certification Processes from 2001 to 2005. She served on the faculty of Illinois State for 26 years, advancing to the rank of full professor.

Campbell indicated the trustees will vote to confirm Curtis' appointment during a 1 p.m. special meeting on Nov. 15 in the State Room of Tirey Hall. Following the meeting, the trustees will host a reception to formally welcome Curtis and her husband, Lynn, a retired school superintendent. She is expected to assume her duties in early January. Curtis and her husband plan to live on campus in Condit House.

Curtis will succeed Daniel J. Bradley, who will step down from the presidency on Jan. 3 after nine and a half years of service.


Photo: -- Dr. Deborah Curtis

Indiana State University Media Contact: Teresa Exline, Chief of Staff, ISU Office of the President and the Provost, 812-237-7783,

To arrange interviews with Dr. Deborah Curtis, please contact: Jeff Murphy, assistant director for media relations, University of Central Missouri, 660-543-4376,