Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., plans to step away from his role as provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Metropolitan State University of Denver and will return to his passion for research and teaching as a professor in the School of Education.

Deputy Provost Marie Mora, Ph.D., will serve as interim provost while the University conducts a national search to fill the position. Tatum will continue in his current role through March 15 to assist Mora with the transition.

“As provost, I’ve been focused on building the faculty’s capacity to better serve our students and to maintain the high quality of our programs,” Tatum said. “As we’ve emerged from a global pandemic and navigated related enrollment and fiscal challenges, this work has been challenging and rewarding. It should and will continue, as University leaders also work to ensure we are on a fiscally sustainable path.

“I remain committed to our students and to the mission of this University, and I look forward to supporting that mission with my research, teaching and community engagement as a faculty member.”

Tatum joined MSU Denver in March 2021. As provost, he championed open and honest dialogue with faculty members, launching weekly “Talks with Tatum” sessions to hear their ideas and concerns. Tatum also vigorously pursued efforts to strategically grow enrollment through innovative academic programs and targeted student-support services, and he oversaw the creation of two new colleges: the College of Health and Human Sciences and the College of Aerospace, Computing, Engineering and Design.

Tatum, one of the nation’s preeminent scholars of African American boys’ literacy development, began his career as an eighth-grade teacher in Chicago after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. He later earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago and was dean of the university’s College of Education from 2013-20. During his time in academia, Tatum has authored or co-authored four books, four major reading-and-writing programs and 86 academic papers and publications.

“I want to thank Dr. Tatum for his tireless work to support our faculty, our students and the mission of the University,” said President Janine Davidson, Ph.D. “I’m grateful that he will continue to contribute to our work as a faculty member. As one of the nation’s most distinguished scholars in his field, he exemplifies University values and our commitment to academic excellence.”

Mora will begin her interim role on March 16. She joined MSU Denver in August with nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, including serving as provost at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Much of her higher-ed experience has been at Hispanic-Serving Institutions and those with large first-generation, nontraditional and adult-learner populations.