‘Catalyst for Success’: Akins Named UWG’s Vice Provost

From the website of the University of West Georgia

Dr. Ralitsa Akins, a trained orthopedic surgeon and seasoned academic leader, has been named vice provost for the University of West Georgia.

Currently serving as provost of Des Moines University, Akins will assume the new role on July 12 to lead academic planning to ensure UWG’s programs remain successful and relevant to the demands of the 21st century. Akins will also coordinate the academic efforts across multiple campuses in Carrollton, Newnan and Douglasville.

Dr. Jon Preston, UWG’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, announced the appointment to the university community earlier today, expressing gratitude to the eight-member team of UWG faculty and staff – led by Dr. Laurie Kimbrel, assistant professor in the College of Education – who conducted the nationwide search.

“Dr. Akins brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role, and we are confident she will support shared governance, enhance policy and champion student success initiatives across the university through visionary, inclusive and entrepreneurial leadership,” Preston said. “As a proven leader who has advanced the areas she’s overseen, we are eager for her thought-partnership and expertise as we remain committed to the curation of a first-choice university for all our stakeholders.”

As vice provost, Akins will work collaboratively with faculty, staff, and administration to lead analytics, review and forward-thinking planning to ensure relevance and success for academic programs and oversee institutional effectiveness with emphasis on university and disciplinary accreditation.

“I am deeply honored by the tremendous opportunity to contribute to the work being done at the University of West Georgia to enhance student success through innovative, student-centric approaches,” Akins said. “Additionally, I am impressed by the powerful vision set forth by the university’s strategic plan and the direction it provides to ensure students are offered relevant programs that will connect them to in-demand careers for the rest of their lives.”

As a senior officer in the Division of Academic Affairs, Akins will also lead UWG’s eCore and eCampus endeavors and will be responsible for academic testing services, institutional effectiveness and assessment.

“We have learned through the challenges of the past year how important it is to offer flexibility and options in a dynamic environment, and our leadership of eCore and eCampus will allow us to use the benefits of all teaching modalities to ensure synergy among the multiple teaching and learning opportunities,” she said. “Throughout all my work, I aim to be a catalyst for success, specifically for students, as they make contributions to the university’s impact on our communities and world.”

Having earned her M.D. from the Medical University in Varna, Bulgaria – becoming only the third female orthopedic surgeon to be board-certified in the eastern European nation – Akins has served as a staff surgeon and assistant professor in family medicine abroad. After immigrating to the U.S., she earned her Ph.D. in educational administration from Texas A&M University.

Prior to joining Des Moines University as provost in 2018, she served as associate dean of faculty affairs at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine in Spokane, Washington, and in various faculty and administrative appointments and diverse committee service roles at SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine and California Northstate University College of Medicine.