Neil J. MacKinnon, dean of the James L Winkle College of Pharmacy at University of Cincinnati, has been named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Augusta University, effective Jan. 19, following an extensive national search.
“Dr. MacKinnon has an accomplished record in public health, research and academic program development, as well as a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “Neil’s vision and values align well with Augusta University’s mission to serve all of Georgia as the state’s only public academic medical center. He has a deep understanding of and appreciation for the importance of comprehensive undergraduate programming and enrollment management. His leadership will serve us well as we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and keep us moving toward our goal of 16,000 students by 2030 and growth in our research program.”
MacKinnon led the college to unprecedented student enrollment in fall 2020, due to the creation of nine new graduate certificates/degree programs since 2013. He also oversaw a $34 million building renovation for the college and completed the largest one-time hire of new faculty positions in the college’s 170-year history.
Under MacKinnon’s leadership, the James L Winkle College of Pharmacy set all-time records for percentage of faculty, staff and students who are under-represented minorities. He also created a new position for the college, hiring a director of diversity and inclusion. The college received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award in 2018, 2019 and in 2020, the only pharmacy school in the US to receive this award in all three years.
MacKinnon has a PhD in Pharmacy Health Care Administration and fellowship from the University of Florida, Gainesville; Master of Science in Hospital Pharmacy and residency from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Bachelor of Science from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
“Augusta University is a remarkable success story,” MacKinnon said. “There is a clear sense of direction under President Keel with ‘Beyond Boundaries’. As the next provost, I look forward to collaborating with our academic leaders to write the next chapter in this story.”
MacKinnon succeeds Dr. Gretchen Caughman, who retired in August after more than 35 years of service to Augusta University. Dr. Zach Kelehear, vice provost for instruction at Augusta University, has served in the interim.
“I want to thank Dr. Kelehear for his leadership during this time of transition,” Keel said. “I’m also grateful to Dr. Hess and his search committee, who helped select the finalists from an excellent pool of candidates. This important decision was informed by input from our entire AU community, and my thanks go out to all the faculty, staff and students who provided feedback. We look forward to welcoming Dr. MacKinnon to campus for the spring semester.”