Kentucky Educator Karla Hughes to be the UL System’s Executive Vice President and Provost

BATON ROUGE – The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System today approved the appointment of Karla Hughes as the UL System’s Executive Vice President and Provost.  Effective Jan. 6, 2014, she will serve as deputy to System President Sandra K. Woodley and monitor and support the direction of academic programs at all nine universities in the system.

“I look forward to my initial visits to the nine campuses and getting to know many of the students, staff, faculty, and administrators at the System’s regional and statewide universities,” Hughes said.  “An opportunity like this to help strengthen existing, as well as assist the coordination and development of new programs that improve student success, are rare,” she continued. “That’s why I applied only a day or two after reading the job description!”

For the past six and a half years, Dr. Hughes has been Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Morehead State University in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  At Morehead State she administered an operating budget in excess of $94.9 million while providing leadership for 367 full- and 355 part-time faculty, as well as 114 full- and 203 part-time staff in Academic Affairs on the University’s main and four regional campuses.

“Dr. Hughes will be able to draw on over 35 years of teaching and leadership experience in the Academy during which time she served with distinction as a faculty member, department chair, dean, and provost involved in public affairs, institutional research, outreach and student services,” said Dr. Woodley.  “Her leadership skills and ability to wear multiple hats will be valuable in working with our nine universities.”

While at Morehead State, Dr. Hughes chaired the Kentucky Postsecondary Education System’s Council of Chief Academic Officers representing eight institutions including the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville.  In addition, she had a leading role in the development of Kentucky House Bill 160 College Transfer legislation as well as other statewide initiatives including initial development of an adult education alliance.  The UL System launched the state’s first collaborative online degree program targeted to adults last year.  The Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership is now offered jointly by all nine universities with nine distinct concentrations.

Soon after Dr. Hughes’ appointment at MSU in 2007 she introduced initiatives that became part of a continuous improvement effort to insure access to 21st Century programs.  Sixteen percent, back-to-back increases resulted in an all-time high enrollment of approximately 12,000 students.  Her previous leadership experiences also included selection as a year-long American Council on   Education (ACE) Fellow with an initial semester-long placement in the Office of the President at the University of North Carolina System serving 17 institutions.

Besides academic appointments at the University of Missouri, Virginia Polytechnic and State (Virginia Tech), East Carolina, Kansas State, Middle Tennessee State, and Morehead State Universities, three as a tenured professor, she has also developed professional relationships with faculty and administrators at six historically black universities.

During the 15 years that Hughes held statewide, outreach appointments in Kansas and Missouri, she developed the first computerized programs for the Missouri Cooperative Extension, and her alternative agriculture enterprise was recognized by the University of Missouri System president as among the state’s 10 best economic development programs.  In addition, her outreach and coalition-building skills were recognized last year when the Intergenerational Community Center that she organized in 2004 through a three-way, partnership between a community college, city government, and her college at East Carolina University earned the national, Association of Public and Land-grant University’s C. Peter Magrath University / Community Engagement Award.

Hughes holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Agriculture (Animal Science / Food Safety) from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, as well as a Master and Bachelor of Science Degrees in Nutrition and Food Science from Kansas State University.  She has also completed post graduate work at the University of Missouri-Columbia in personnel administration.  When she left East Carolina University, she was granted professor emerita status.

Karla Hughes is married to L. R. Hughes, a retired air force officer.  She has a daughter, Hilary, and two stepsons, Rex and Bailey.


ABOUT THE UL SYSTEM: The largest higher education system in Louisiana, the UL system enrolls 90,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.  For more information about the UL System visit