Illinois State University President Larry Dietz has named Dr. Aondover Tarhule as the vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, effective July 1. Jan Murphy, who has served in the role since 2017, will retire this summer.
Tarhule currently serves as vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at Binghamton University, part of the state universities of New York. While at Binghamton, he has facilitated the creation of new degree programs, developed new international partnerships, and implemented several major innovations to data and workflow software. As a member of the university president’s cabinet, Tarhule is responsible for academic program review and works collaboratively with vice presidents and deans of academic colleges.
“I am humbled and thrilled to have been selected to serve as the next vice president and provost of Illinois State University,” said Tarhule. “From the moment I stepped foot on campus, I was immediately struck by how committed and invested everyone was to the future of the institution. President Larry Dietz and his entire leadership team are amazing. The university has a record of prudent management and is well positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the higher education landscape.”
During his time at Binghamton, Tarhule was named co-chair of the Joint Task Force on Graduate Education and Scholarship, served on the Faculty Senate, the Academic Standards and Policy Committee, the Graduate Council Curriculum Committee, the Educational Policy and Planning Committee, and the Enrollment Management Group.
“Dr. Tarhule’s vast experience and knowledge lifted him to the top of a very qualified pool of candidates,” said President Dietz. “My thanks to the Provost Search Committee, and all those who contributed to this decision through shared governance. We look forward to Dr. Tarhule becoming a Redbird.”
A physical geographer, Tarhule’s work on climate impacting water scarcity and security has been featured in National Geographic and Nature. His scholarly research has appeared in prestigious international journals and book chapters. His efforts as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI have resulted in more than $5 million in grants from such agencies as the National Science Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development, the National Institute of Health, and the United States Geological Survey.
Tarhule served on the committees of prominent national and international organizations, including as a consultant for the World Bank for the Niger Basin Development Authority, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research College of Mentors; and on the Board on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate for the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. He was also an editorial board member for the Scientific World Journal and the African Geographical Journal.
Previously, Tarhule served as executive associate dean of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. There, he created the college’s first College Diversity Council, developed the State of the College annual event, and worked on faculty retention issues. He also served as department chair, transforming the geography department into the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability. His efforts as chair included establishing three new degrees, quadrupling enrollments, and growing full-time faculty by 80 percent.
Tarhule earned a doctorate in geography from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation to conduct research at the University of Jos in Nigeria; and another fellowship from the Canadian Science Advisory Council for research at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He earned a master’s degree in environmental resources planning and a bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Jos, Plateau State, in Nigeria.