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Meet André-Denis Wright: OU’s New Provost for the Norman Campus

Meet André-Denis Wright: OU’s New Provost for the Norman Campus

Tomorrow, André-Denis Wright will join the University of Oklahoma as its new senior vice president and provost for the Norman campus. In this role, he will manage all academic initiatives of the Norman campus, including overseeing curricular standards and academic policies, faculty recruitment and development, institutional planning and budgeting, and resource and enrollment management.

Having recently moved to Norman from the state of Washington, Wright is ready to immerse himself in the OU community – learn more about him below.

Wright portrait

Name: André-Denis Wright
Title: Senior Vice President and Provost

Q: What are some of your immediate priorities in your new role?
A: My immediate priority is to get to know people. I want to meet and form relationships with my direct reports, my colleagues, the faculty, staff and students. I also want to deepen my understanding of the university culture.  

Q: What drew you to the University of Oklahoma?
A: OU is one of the premier research universities in the world and the flagship institution in the state of Oklahoma. After reading OU’s new Strategic Plan, the purpose and pillars resonated well with me. The Strategic Plan is practical, bold, and most importantly, achievable. The more I learned about OU, the more excited I became about its future and I wanted to be a part of this journey.

Q: As an internationally recognized scientist and in your role as provost, how do you plan to help OU in its pursuit to become one of the nation’s top public research institutions?
A: I have had the opportunity to spend my entire academic career working at public research institutions, including an AAU institution. I have witnessed firsthand the importance of encouraging and motivating faculty to obtain grants and to work with colleagues across campuses and other institutions on larger grants, as well as providing them with the tools and support needed to successfully submit their grants for consideration.   

Q: Preparing our students for success is central to OU’s purpose. What are the top three things you think colleges can do to place students on a path to success?
A: First, I think we must work with students to better understand what their career goals are. Many times, I have encountered seniors who still don’t know what they want to do when they graduate. We need to help them determine their interests and strengths and what career options align with those.

Second, we need to help students prepare for the job application process by teaching them how to create resumes and prepare for interviews. I would love to create a mock interview process, where students submit resumes and go through an interview so they can better understand the process. Through the mock interviews, we can provide them with feedback on how to strengthen their resume and interview skills.

Lastly, I would like to start tracking students so we can see where they end up after graduation. One thing I heard continually in my previous roles was, “You prepare students to graduate, but they are not always job-ready.” After that, I started working with employers to learn what skills they would like students to have once they graduate and join their company.

Q: What do you enjoy when you’re not working?
A: I love woodworking and watching sports – all sports. I even dreamed of playing professional football. Right now, I’m excited because my favorite team is in the Stanley Cup Finals. Also, after living in Australia for 12 years, I like to keep up with Australian sports.  

Q: What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
A: Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Article Published:  Wednesday, June 30, 2021