Michael Moore first stepped on the campus 20 years ago as an assistant political science professor, fresh out of graduate school at the University of Nebraska. Now the senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies said he is leaving with very fond memories of the university.
On Friday, the University of Arkansas System named Moore its academic affairs vice president for the System. The system oversees 11 institutions. Jan. 2 is Moore’s last day working at UTA.
Moore will join Donald Bobbitt, former UTA provost and vice president for academic affairs, who left in 2011 to take over as University of Arkansas System president.
The opportunity to work with Bobbitt again was a factor in the decision to apply with the University of Arkansas System, Moore said.
“I was very excited about the chance to rejoin him. I very much enjoyed working with him when he was here,” Moore said.
Bobbitt said it took a little encouraging to get Moore to apply.
"I let him know I was going to have this opening and hoped that he would apply. I may have approached him more than once," he said with a laugh. "Michael's part of the fabric of UT-Arlington. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision for him."
Moore taught the first online class – an Introduction to American Government - at UTA more than 12 years ago. Today, about a third of the classes UTA offers are online and about 9,500 students are considered fully online. Moore continues to teach political science classes.
“His efforts are going to pay dividends here for years to come,” university spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan said.
Moore has worked in the Provost’s Office for the last 12 years of his tenure. Moore played a critical role in launching University College, Sullivan said.
The university’s retention rates increased 12 percent in three years, Moore said.
Bobbitt said he admires Moore for continuing to be a faculty member.
"He asked to be allowed to continue to teach after he gets settled in here," Bobbitt said.
Bobbitt said he expects Moore will relate well with the faculty in all 11 institutions.
While Moore said he is very proud of the achievements in the University College and the growth of online classes, he does not take all of the credit.
“Like all good things at this university, no one person is responsible. I’ve been very blessed to have working with me some very highly skilled individuals,” he said.
As Moore prepares to make his move, he said he has mixed emotions.
“I have a lot of very dear friends here. I met my wife here,” Moore said. “This place definitely holds a special place in my heart.”
A search for Moore's successor has not yet begun, Sullivan said.