Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., who has served as interim chancellor of North Carolina Central University since January 2017, has been elected to the position on a permanent basis by the Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina.
UNC System President Margaret Spellings formally nominated Dr. Akinleye during a special meeting of the board held in Chapel Hill.
“Dr. Akinleye is a strategic thinker and no-nonsense leader,” said President Spellings. “His distinguished career includes extensive experience in senior administrative leadership roles at public, private and church-affiliated institutions. He sees building a relationship with the campus and community leaders as a priority and he understands the need to maximize the full value of being in the Research Triangle. I’ve had the benefit of watching Dr. Akinleye lead on an interim basis during a challenging period at N.C. Central, I’m confident that he will build on the proud traditions and storied history of the institution while continuing the legacy of great leaders before him – most notably the late Dr. Debra Saunders-White.”
At NCCU, Dr. Akinleye worked to expand the university’s academic partnerships, including new agreements with community colleges, as well as introduced to the campus a robust online, distance-education program, NCCU Online. He also created K-12 initiatives and implemented a security strategy to increase safety for campus constituents. Before his appointment as interim chancellor, he was named acting chancellor from August 2016 to January 2017. Prior to that role, Akinleye was named acting chancellor NCCU’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, where his responsibilities included faculty development, academic planning and assessment, enrollment management, and academic oversight of NCCU’s seven schools and colleges.
“I accept the awesome responsibility as the 12th Chancellor for North Carolina Central University with humility,” said Chancellor Akinleye. “I look forward to leading NCCU in a manner that honors our mission and to working closely with UNC General Administration to fulfill the university’s system-wide mission and goals that accrue to the benefit of the citizens of the great state of North Carolina. Moreover, I will continue to assess, evaluate and transform the university to increase efficiencies, sustain shared resources, expand its academic portfolio, enhance its brand and reputation, as well as excel in the competitive global marketplace and evolving higher education landscape.”
Prior to joining NCCU’s leadership team, Akinleye served as associate vice chancellor for academic programs at UNC Wilmington, where he was involved in leading online and distance education programs, increasing academic offerings, and leading the development and formation of the College of Allied Health. Earlier in his career, he held various leadership posts at Edward Waters College and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida. He began his academic career as a faculty member at Bowie State University in Maryland.
Akinleye received an undergraduate degree in telecommunications and a master’s degree in media technology from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University. He earned his Ph.D. in human communications studies from Howard University.
The chancellor search process, which originally began in January 2017, was first led by NCCU Board of Trustees chairman George Hamilton. The North Carolina Central University Chancellor Search Committee sought candidates that who embodied effective executive, administrative and academic leadership.
“I am excited about the selection of Dr. Johnson O. Akinleye as the 12th chancellor of our great institution,” said Chairman Hamilton. “Dr. Akinleye has a keen understanding of the landscape of higher education in North Carolina and nationally. Having served as both provost and interim chancellor at NCCU, Dr. Akinleye has demonstrated the skills and competencies necessary to ensure the institution’s future success. He knows our strengths and growth potential, and, as an added plus, he will hit the ground running on day one!”