New Provost Jennifer Evans-Cowley ready to take UNT into the 2020s with new learning technologies

Published online and in print on 3/30/17 at

UNT alumna Jennifer Evans-Cowley will start her new position as UNT’s provost and vice president for academic affairs in July following the retirement of Finley Graves.

Originally from Arlington, Evans-Cowley will bring with her her passion for higher education and looks forward to jumping in and getting to the campus community.

“I’m really excited about coming back to the university and the first thing that’s in order is getting to know the university community and learning about the exciting things that are already going on,” Evans-Cowley said.

Evans-Cowley has already started to reach out to key individuals to get a head start on getting involved. Once she arrives, she plans to reach out to the Student Government Association, Graduate Student Association and other key groups that represent the UNT community. She said she is committed to continue moving UNT forward in its efforts to become a leading research university and will meet with provost Graves in a few weeks to begin a “seamless transition.”

Since 2014, Evans-Cowley has served as the vice provost for capital planning and regional campuses at Ohio State University. One of the many things she oversees is the process for deciding what will be built and renovated at the university. She looks forward to seeing how she can use her experience at OSU to aide in UNT’s continued facility and expanding growth.

“I hope that I can bring some innovative thinking to make sure that the new facilities that we are building will be maximally effective,” Evans-Cowley said.

Before serving as OSU’s vice provost, Evans-Cowley taught classes and chaired the City and Regional Planning at the Knowlton School before moving to the associate dean position for academic affairs and administration in the College of Engineering. Evans-Cowley received her Bachelor of Science in political science, master’s degree in urban planning and a Ph.D. in urban and regional science from Texas A&M University, and a master’s degree in public administration from UNT.

Evans-Cowley is prepared to take UNT into the 2020s as technology advancements and online courses increase. She currently uses technology-enhanced learning in her own classroom and finds “interesting” ways to use technology to make sure students are learning as much as possible.

“It’s really about how we use the learning technologies out there to help students succeed and make sure that our faculty are prepared to be able to use that technology in the best way possible,” Evans-Cowley said.

Being a D-FW native, Evans-Cowley has a love for the familiar Tex-Mex food of the area and is excited to return home. She lived on Fry Street during her time at UNT.

“My husband and I met while I was a student at UNT, so the chance to be with family and friends and to come back to a university I think so highly of is a tremendous opportunity and honor,” Evans-Cowley said.

She got a sneak peek of what her time at UNT could be like when she attended the Wingspan Gala on Saturday.

“I had the chance to meet with a number of students while I was on campus and they were so incredibly warm and welcoming,” Evans-Cowley said. “It was really clear to me that they love being at UNT and really feel like they’re having a great experience and seeing that was really important to me.”

She describes her decision to leave OSU and return to UNT as a “right time, right place” decision and believes UNT is on the right trajectory to continue its success and growth.

“I think what I’ll be able to bring is a passion and understanding for higher education and some creative ideas about how we can think about moving the university in a positive direction,” Evans-Cowley said.

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