Dr. J.S. "Jeff" Elwell joined ENMU as the 10th president on July 1, 2017. Prior to coming to ENMU, Dr. Elwell served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga since 2012. During his tenure there, he substantially increased annual fundraising for the college and external grant funding. Under his leadership, online enrollment also increased dramatically and he oversaw the renovation of a major instructional building. He also found time to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in playwriting.
Before becoming dean at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Dr. Elwell was provost and special assistant to the Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives at Auburn University at Montgomery from 2010 to 2012. He was involved with retention initiatives, including a Summer Bridge program, collaborated with the Faculty Senate to revise the tenure and promotion system, and worked closely with the honors program. Dr. Elwell was the founding dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at East Carolina University and led the college from 2004 to 2010. Under his leadership, the college received $3.7 million in external grants, college enrollment increased by 45% and the number of annual gifts to the college doubled.
Dr. Elwell chaired the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska from 1999 to 2004 and at Marshall University (1996-99). He also served as director of theatre at Mississippi State University (1989-1996) where he was tenured a fully promoted while teaching and directing and producing plays. Dr. Elwell has seen more than 100 productions of 23 of his plays produced in professional, university and community theatres in Chicago, Charlottesville, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York; Moscow, Russia; Perth, Australia; Ontario, Canada; and Lund, Sweden.
Dr. Elwell holds a Ph.D. in Speech Communication/Theater from Southern Illinois University, a Master of Arts in Communication/Theatre from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Bakersfield.
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