New provost hopes to promote student success, apply lessons from previous job

Photo from WKU news

Jacob Latimer

Robert “Bud” Fischer is excited to make the transition to be WKU’s new provost this fall after his time at Middle Tennessee State University.

Fischer will be taking over after Interim Provost Cheryl Stevens steps down and retires on June 30. Previously, he was the dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at MTSU.

Fischer attended State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, where he received a bachelor’s degree in ecology, and State University College at Buffalo where he received a master’s degree in environmental biology. He later

attended the University of South Carolina where he received his doctorate in evolutionary biology.

“My parents understood that education was probably the most important thing for me and my brothers to get, and so I never remember a time where we weren’t headed to college,” Fischer said.

After working at Savannah River Ecology Lab in South Carolina, his boss directed him towards an opportunity to teach biology at USC Aiken. Fischer stated that he had never wanted to teach before this but talked to the biology chair and began teaching.

“I knew two weeks into teach- ing that I needed to go get a PhD., because I loved the campus, and I loved the students and the class,” Fischer said. “There was so much energy and so much excitement.”

After getting his doctorate and teaching at USC Aiken, he moved to Eastern Illinois University and taught there for 15 years. Knowing that he wanted to be a chair, Fischer spent four and a half years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and moved to MTSU after that.

Student success is No. 1 in Fischer’s book, and he hopes to promote that once he begins at WKU. He stated that he has already enjoyed meeting students during the time he has spent on campus.

“Part of the reason I’m excited for this job is that lots of the values that they have are the same values you see at this campus,” Fischer said.

During his time as a dean at MTSU, the university saw enrollment grow by nearly 1,000, and retention rates increased from 68% to over 80%. Fischer hopes to apply what he learned at MTSU to WKU’s campus.

“I’m excited to move an institution forward,” Fischer said.

Jacob Latimer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jacoblatimer_.