By Joel Hall
Since June, the title of provost/vice president of academic affairs at Clayton State University has been vacant. This week, the university chose Michael Crafton, a former University of West Georgia administrator, to fill the post for the next year.
On Aug. 3, Crafton, an educator and higher-education administrator for the last 25 years, will begin his new job. Crafton said that, over the next year, he will play a vital role in the intelligent growth of the university, as well as attracting suitable students to the college's various academic departments.
"Clayton State needs some strategic planning and enrollment management, and those are two things I have worked on a lot at [the University of] West Georgia," he said.
"It's about enrollment, for sure, but it's really about attracting the right students, keeping the right students," he said. "To accomplish these things, we will have to have lots of committees, lots of people from diverse backgrounds, and lots of people working together. What talent I have had in administration has been being able to pull many different people together."
Crafton began working as an instructor at the University of West Georgia in 1982, shortly before finishing his doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In addition to being an expert on medieval literature, Chaucer, and the Bayeux Tapestry (a long, embroidered cloth explaining the events leading to the Norman conquest of England), Crafton has served the University of West Georgia as interim vice president of academic affairs, associate vice president of academic affairs, and a faculty associate for enrollment management.
"I finished my Ph.D. and just stayed," Crafton said. "I basically moved up in every position they had."
Tim Hynes, president of Clayton State University, also noted that Crafton spent time as a University Advisory Committee member for the University System of Georgia's eCore - an online program that allows students to take the university system's core curriculum online.
He said Crafton will be the chief academic officer at the university, responsible for overseeing its staff and personnel, as well as its academic, international, library, off-site, and continuing education programs.
"I, along with a number of my colleagues, are quite excited that Michael is able to join us," Hynes said. "He has a track record of getting things done and working collaboratively with people across the university system. He is a scholar and a proven leader. We are quite fortunate to be able to identify somebody of Dr. Crafton's skill to serve on an interim basis."
Hynes said Crafton will replace Sharon Hoffman, who resigned as the university's provost in June.
Crafton said, while he is only contracted to work at the university for one year, he will focus on laying out long-term growth, branding, marketing, and fund-raising plans. "A person who is in an interim position can't get it all done, but we can get it close," he said.
"My plans are to work on these things, but not to do a slap-dash job. Having worked at West Georgia for 25 years, West Georgia has grown from about the size Clayton State is now, to about twice that size," he said. "My experience, I hope, will be of use to Clayton State in moving toward its growth."