The Arka Tech

VP for Academic Affairs candidates announced

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Dr. Mohamed Abdelrahman
Dr. Russell Porter
Dr. James Ermatinger

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Arkansas Tech recently announced three finalists for the position of vice president of academic affairs. All are currently employed in senior level positions at various universities.

Dr. Mohamed Abdelrahman is the associate vice president for research and graduate studies at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

Abdelrahman is a former Fulbright scholar and obtained a Ph.D in nuclear science and engineering from Idaho State University before spending 13 years as a professor at Tennessee Technological University, something he says will be a major asset if selected.

“Even though I did not have direct contact with Arkansas Tech, I have had a career that started in a place very similar to Arkansas Tech, so I understand the challenges that face the faculty, the students and the administrators very well,” Abdelrahman said.

Dr. Russell Porter has earned two doctoral degrees, a Ph.D in health service organizations and research from Virginia Commonwealth University and an Ed.D in higher education from the University of North Texas. After obtaining his doctorates, Porter worked for the Virginia Board of Medicine, the United States Community College of the Air Force and four universities before joining the administration at Texas A&M University Central Texas, where he serves as associate provost and associate vice president for graduate studies and research.

Porter lined out what his first priority would be if selected for the position.

“The first things I’d do is listen, listen, listen,” Porter said. “‘I love to teach, I love to do research, but I’m what’s called a servant leader, and that’s a big part of my philosophy.”

Dr. James Ermatinger is the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Ermatinger has a Ph.D in history from Indiana University at Bloomington. Ermatinger held faculty positions at three Midwestern universities before becoming the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Bloomsburg University. After Bloomsburg, Ermatinger joined the administration of the University of Illinois at Springfield, where he has served in multiple roles.

Ermatinger could not be reached for comment.

There were 48 applicants for the position, including two internal candidates. The selected finalists will visit Arkansas Tech to meet with faculty, staff and students. Details of the candidates’ visits can be found at

The position of vice president of academic affairs was vacated by Dr. John W. Watson late last year and is held in the interim by Dr. AJ Anglin.