Lenoir-Rhyne has hired Laura Crawley, Ph.D., as the inaugural vice president for mission, engagement and innovation. In addition, Crawley will hold the rank of non-tenure track professor of history. Crawley will begin her role July 1 and will report directly to Lenoir-Rhyne President Dr. Fred Whitt.
Crawley comes to LR from the University of Georgia, where she is currently assistant vice president for Academic Affairs and director of UGA’s Gwinnett Campus. In this role, she oversees UGA’s graduate professional campus serving the metro-Atlanta area and north Georgia. She also leads a university-wide effort to grow professional graduate programs and help meet market demand for graduate credentials across the state of Georgia.
“As the vice president of mission, engagement and innovation, Laura will lead areas tied to the priorities of our strategic plan,” said Dr. Fred Whitt, Lenoir-Rhyne University president. “Laura brings exceptional credentials and experience and we are fortunate to have her join our LR leadership team. The breadth of her experience in higher education, her Lutheran faith and leadership role in her church, and her ability to create new programs that meet the demands of changing demographics will serve LR well. I can’t wait to see how she helps us move forward.”
Crawley will supervise areas key to the strategic plan, including undergraduate enrollment, student life/engagement, LR’s two graduate campuses in Asheville, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina, the Center for Vocation and Purpose, and LR’s church relations.
“It is an honor to join Lenoir-Rhyne as the inaugural vice president for mission, engagement, and innovation,” said Crawley. “As a lifelong Lutheran with a career in higher education, I am excited to support this new division dedicated to enacting LR’s mission in service to our students and our communities. Lenoir-Rhyne offers everyone the chance to grow in learning and in spirit within a university dedicated to developing the whole person. I look forward to working with President Whitt, the LR leadership team and faculty, and the entire LR community as we nurture and expand the university’s mission together.”
Crawley’s career began in the late 1990s while pursuing her doctorate at Emory University. She served as a student affairs administrator at Georgia Perimeter College, a multi-campus community college. She then helped found an international scholarly journal, The Journal of The Historical Society, before joining a branding consultancy as director of program development. In that role, Crawley consulted with colleges and universities across the country on branding initiatives and organizational change.
From 2009-2013, Crawley ran the executive MBA program at Georgia State University. She currently serves on the governing boards for Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce and the President’s Advisory Board for Georgia Gwinnett College. She is active in her community, having served for many years as a congregational leader at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta, and as the founding board chair for DeKalb Preparatory Academy, a K-8 public charter school in Decatur, Georgia.