Dr. Deborah Ford
A Louisville native and Indiana University alumna will become the seventh chancellor of IU Southeast on July 1, 2023.
Dr. Deborah Ford will oversee all aspects of the academic and operational dimensions of the campus, in collaboration with university administration and the other Indiana University regional campuses. Ford brings deep experience in supporting student success and bolstering community engagement between the campus and business community from current and previous positions held in Wisconsin, Florida and her home community of Louisville, KY.
Ford currently serves as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, a role she has held since 2009. In that position, Ford has led the campus community in an integrated planning effort that aligned the university’s strategic framework to its academic and student affairs plan and its focus on strategic enrollment management.
Ford’s accomplishments at UW-Parkside will serve as a blueprint for success at IU Southeast. While at UW-Parkside, she graduated the highest number of graduates in university history during the COVID-19 pandemic and is on-track to achieve a bold goal of 50 percent increase in graduates by 2025. UW-Parkside achieved the status of most diverse student body in the University of Wisconsin system under Ford, growing from 25 percent to 37 percent students of color, all while improving student completion. Additionally, the campus grew graduate program enrollment from two percent to 18 percent of the student body, while earning a new Carnegie Classification as a Master’s University.
On behalf of UW-Parkside, she accepted the 2022 Excellence in Innovation Award for Student Success and College Completion by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
A strong believer in community engagement and building partnerships throughout the region, Ford has been actively engaged in a variety of regional organizations, including the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Racine County Economic Development Corp. She was selected by Kenosha’s mayor to serve as the founding president of Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood to transform 107 acres into an Innovation District.
Ford was recognized in 2022 by the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville at their 32nd Annual Salute to Catholic School Alumni Dinner event. She is an alumna of Mercy Academy in Louisville.
“Chancellor Ford grew up in the Louisville metropolitan region near the IU Southeast campus, and she is excited to return home to make a positive difference on the campus and in the area,” said Susan Sciame-Giesecke, IU vice president for regional campuses and online education. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and 14 years of experience leading a campus very similar to IU Southeast. I am excited that we were able to attract such an outstanding and proven leader. The campus is positioned well for the future."
Before joining the University of Wisconsin System, Ford served as vice president for student affairs at the University of West Florida, and vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Spalding University in Kentucky. She holds her B.S. from the University of Louisville, a Master of Education from Indiana University and a Doctor of Education from the University of Louisville.
“The vision for IU Southeast is compelling, and I am honored to join the learning community as chancellor,” Ford said. “President Pamela Whitten’s vision for Indiana University is inspiring, and the regional campuses serve a vital role in advancing education to students in communities throughout the state that is both attainable and affordable. I look forward to working in tandem with Vice President Sciame-Giesecke to advance the IU 2030 Strategic Plan focused on student success at IU Southeast and building strong community partnerships in southern Indiana and greater Louisville.”
Ford views the campus relationship to alumni as key to future success. “I look forward to meeting with our alumni and learning about their experiences not only as a student but their success following graduation,” Ford said. “Alumni can help us recruit new students through their own stories of achievement and they can help us expand our educational experiences through internships and hands-on learning opportunities through their organizations and businesses. Fortifying our ties to our alumni is crucial to our students and our success as a campus.”
Ford succeeds Dr. Kelly A. Ryan, who held the role of interim chancellor for the 2022-23 academic year.