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Dr. Todd Shields picked as new Arkansas State University chancellor

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Arkansas State University
Dr. Todd Shields will become chancellor of Arkansas State University's flagship campus in Jonesboro.

Arkansas State University on Monday announced it had selected Dr. Todd Shields as its new Jonesboro campus chancellor.

Shields, who has served as the dean of the University of Arkansas’s Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences since 2014, will begin his new job Aug. 15. He is slated to make $450,000 annually, ASU President Chuck Welch said.

He was one of four finalists for the position. He will replace former ASU Chancellor Kelly Damphousse who left after his term was completed on June 30 to become the president of Texas State University.

“I believe that the hiring of Todd Shields will prove to be a truly transformational moment for our university,” Welch said. “He has an extraordinary track record in fostering student success, securing external funds, and managing large, complex academic units. These experiences, combined with his strong reputation and connections statewide, are precisely why the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee recommended his hiring to me. Dr. Shields outlined an exciting vision for our university in areas of community engagement and development, fundraising, academic programming and research. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and I cannot wait for our university community to get to know Todd and Karen.”

Shields’ academic administrative experience spans from department chair to research centers and from deanships of individual colleges to divisions touching all corners of the university. His two most recent academic appointments, dean of the Graduate School and International Education (GSIE) and dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, illustrate his leadership strength.

“I am honored and thrilled to accept the position of chancellor at Arkansas State University. After talking with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members, the opportunities at Arkansas State are obvious and exciting,” Shields said. “My family and I are deeply committed to the mission of Arkansas State, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the A-State family. After seeing the many opportunities, new relationships, and potential partnerships in Jonesboro, Northeast Arkansas, and across the university, we are eager to help serve the campus, the community, expand collaborations, and help Arkansas State University grow into an even brighter future. My wife and I are deeply honored to join the Red Wolves.”

Fulbright College is the largest college at UA, and includes some of the institution’s hallmark programs. Managing $80 million in general budget funds plus a research budget of approximately $18 million, Shields oversaw more than 650 full-time faculty and instructors and more than 700 teaching and research assistants as the Fulbright dean.

One of Shields’ contributions to UA was the creation of a School of Art within the college, bolstered by significant endowment gifts to fund construction of a new campus space that serves as a partnership with the city of Fayetteville. A $120 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation established the School of Art, followed by $70 million total in support from the Windgate Foundation for the 154,600-square-foot Windgate Studio + Design Center to anchor a new art district redevelopment south of the campus core on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. He also secured $90 million in software and equipment gifts to programs throughout the Fulbright College.

Shields was involved in the creation of the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society, serving as the founding director of the interdisciplinary research center. Building upon his previous experience as the associate director of the Fulbright Institute of International Relations, the Blair Center became an established resource for programing, curriculum, research and polling for the state and region. Shields followed his time as department chair and Blair Center director with a year as the associate dean of the President William Jefferson Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock.

He began his academic career as an assistant professor in political science at Arkansas in 1994 and was promoted to associate professor in 1999. He joined the Fulbright Institute as its associate director in 2000, and in 2005 became a full professor in political science. For seven years, he also concurrently chaired the political science department at UA.

Concurrent with his time at the Clinton School, Shields was first appointed interim dean in 2010-11, then permanent dean of GSIE the following academic year. Along with the graduate school, he also supervised international students, study abroad and sponsored programs on the UA campus.

He is the co-author of three significant books related to electoral politics. Shields and Angie Maxwell combined for the 2019 The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics. His 2008 book with Sunshine Hillygus titled The Persuadable Voter: Wedge Issues in Presidential Campaigns won the 2009 Robert E. Lane Award for the best book in political psychology. His first book, Money Matters: Campaign Finance Reform and Congressional Elections, was written with Robert K. Goidel and Don Gross. He was also an editor on six other books, published more than 40 articles and made more than 50 presentations in his research area of voters and election strategies.

He was recently appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to serve on the newly reinstated Arkansas Commission on the Status of Women where he serves as co-chair of the subcommittee on research and writing.

Shields earned a bachelor of arts in political science and a bachelor of arts in psychology in 1990 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He continued his education at the University of Kentucky where he received his master’s degree in political science in 1991 and his doctorate in 1994.

A Chancellor Search Advisory Committee of 22 individuals including faculty, staff, students, and community leaders reviewed 44 applicants for the position. After conducting formal interviews with four finalists, the committee recommended Shields.

“I want to thank each member of the committee for their hard work and energy the past few weeks,” Welch said. “From assisting with the creation of the job announcement to conducting zoom meetings with potential candidates, it was a brisk schedule and I appreciate their commitment to a thorough job in providing important feedback.”

A formal introduction date on campus was not released.