Press Release

Provost Appointed

May 15, 2020 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan Names Karlyn Crowley, Ph.D., to Oversee Academic Operations

Karlyn Crowley, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University has appointed Karlyn Crowley, Ph.D., as its provost, the senior officer overseeing OWU’s academic offerings and operations, including The OWU Connection.

Crowley currently is the interim assistant vice president for academic affairs and an English professor at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She will join Ohio Wesleyan on July 1.

“The opportunity to lead Ohio Wesleyan University’s academic program as our next provost attracted an exceptional pool of accomplished and capable candidates, but Dr. Crowley really stood out for the search committee,” said Robert Harmon, Ph.D., chair of the search committee and chair of the OWU Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Her emphasis on the importance of community, her understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing higher education today, and her creative systems-based approach to problem-solving make us certain that she is the right person for this role.”

Crowley joined St. Norbert – a private Catholic liberal arts college with 2,200 students – in 2002. She was appointed interim assistant vice president for academic affairs in January, helping to oversee academic operations tied to service-learning, inclusion and identity, undergraduate research, the honors program, the library, and faculty development.

In that role, her work has included helping align academic goals with strategic plans, promoting shared governance and decision-making, collaborating with the registrar to enhance student-centered processes, and aiding with academic affairs restructuring.

At Ohio Wesleyan, Crowley will report to President Rock Jones, Ph.D., who said he looks forward to the energy, innovation, and strategy she brings to her work.

“Karlyn listens, analyzes, and accomplishes – helping to guide change with an unwavering focus on ensuring the best experience possible for students,” Jones said. “I look forward to seeing the results of her collaboration with our faculty to continue developing and evolving our signature student experience, The OWU Connection, and to provide innovative leadership in developing our curriculum to meet the needs of students in these rapidly changing times. Like Ohio Wesleyan, Karlyn is deeply committed to the value and power of the residential liberal arts experience.”

Prior to accepting her current position, Crowley’s roles at St. Norbert included serving as interim associate dean, founding director of the Cassandra Voss Center (an endowed equity center), founding chair of women’s and gender studies, and professor of English. She also consults as a peer-reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits colleges and universities, including Ohio Wesleyan.

As a scholar, Crowley’s publications include the books “Feminism’s New Age: Gender, Appropriation, and the Afterlife of Essentialism” (2011) and “Better Mettle: Smarter Social Justice” (expected in 2021), along with numerous articles related to literature, field analysis, and pedagogy; she also writes for higher-education publications such as Inside Higher Ed. She is a faculty fellow for the Colorado-based HERS Women’s Higher Education Executive Leadership Institute.

Crowley earned both a doctorate in English and a Master of Arts in English with a certificate in women’s studies from the University of Virginia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and women’s and gender studies from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.

She said she looks forward to joining Ohio Wesleyan’s senior leadership team and collaborating with colleagues to support OWU’s educational mission and its students.

“As one of the ‘Colleges that Change Lives,’ Ohio Wesleyan embodies all that I believe in – challenging academics, civic engagement and service to the community, a commitment to equity and inclusion, and the development of the whole person,” Crowley said. “OWU is the best of what a residential liberal arts college can be. I can imagine no better culmination of my liberal-arts passions and experience than leading OWU academics.”


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at owu.edu.