Alliance, Ohio – The University of Mount Union is pleased to announce that Dr. William Cunion has been named vice president for academic affairs. He will begin in this role during the spring semester at a date yet to be determined. Cunion, who served as a faculty member and administrator at Mount Union for more than a decade, will return to campus after serving in administrative roles of increasing responsibility at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) since 2014.
Cunion currently serves as the academic dean of Tri-C – East, a role he began in 2019. In this position, he serves as the primary academic leader on the campus and has been highly involved with various external partnerships, several of which have been expanded under his leadership, including those with area high schools as part of the state’s College Credit Plus (CCP) program. He is also responsible for the administration of academic courses at the Eastern Campus, and he coordinated all academic transitions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been involved on numerous campus committees, including those related to artificial intelligence, faculty evaluation, CCP, curriculum and degree requirements, institutional planning and effectiveness, the first-year experience and statewide guaranteed transfer pathways.
Cunion’s success as the academic dean at Tri-C led to his appointment as interim president of the Eastern Campus from August through December of 2021. During this time, he served as the chief administrator of the Eastern Campus and a member of the college-wide executive leadership team. As interim president, he oversaw all campus activities, provided leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and focused on campus safety and emergency preparedness.
“Bill has extensive experience in academic leadership on a college campus, in addition to having the personal qualities and vision that make him an outstanding fit for the vice president for academic affairs role at Mount Union,” said Greg King ’89, president of the University. “As higher education continues to face challenges – challenges from which Mount Union is not immune – I believe that Bill has the right combination of skills and attributes to ensure that the academic mission of the institution not only survives but thrives as we face this turbulence.”
Prior to serving as academic dean and interim president of Tri-C – East, Cunion was the campus’ associate dean of liberal arts (2014-2019), providing direct, day-to-day responsibility for the largest academic division on campus, coordinating class scheduling with counterparts across multiple campuses, and conducting adjunct faculty teaching workshops on topics including the prevention of plagiarism, engaging classroom teaching, student attendance increases and syllabus construction improvement.
Cunion began his higher education administrative career at Mount Union, serving as the associate academic dean from 2010 to 2014. During this time, he provided oversight for the entire University curriculum, supervised numerous administrators and program directors and provided leadership and coordination for the overhaul of the college curriculum. He also taught a range of courses in American government and basic statistics for social science, first as an assistant professor of political science (2003-2009) and then as an associate professor of political science (2009-2014). He served as chair of the Department of Political Science as well as its internship director and was the recipient of Mount Union’s prestigious Great Teacher Award in 2006. Prior to joining the faculty at Mount Union, Cunion was a visiting assistant professor at Ohio University from 2000 to 2003.
“Certainly, my years on the faculty at Mount Union shaped my overall worldview of higher education, and my familiarity with the faculty culture there will position me well to guide the faculty through change,” said Cunion. “I resonated with the portion of the job posting that indicated that the ideal candidate will be one who is ‘comfortable in a small campus setting’ and who ‘desires and appreciates frequent interaction with faculty, staff, and students.’ Above all, I want to come back to Mount Union because I miss that culture. I miss working on a single campus where everyone knows everyone; where faculty across disciplines routinely collaborate on institutional work; where the student affairs staff contributes to student development 24/7; and where we know students well when they cross the stage.”
A native of Massillon, Cunion earned a B.A. degree in political science from Xavier University, an M.A. degree in political science from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His dissertation proposed a means of analyzing presidential rhetoric as a measure of leadership.
Cunion has received numerous accolades and honors throughout his career, including participation in the American Association of Community Colleges Future President’s Institute (2023) and the Mandel Leadership Program (2015-2016). He received the Tri-C Community Champion Award (2019), a college-wide award for exceptional achievement in the community on behalf of the Cuyahoga Community College, and the Eastern Campus Excellence Award (2019), a campus-wide award selected by the campus president and executive leadership team for outstanding contribution to the college or community. He is a lifetime member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and an honorary faculty member in both the Blue Key Honor Society and the Order of Omega honorary.
He has also made numerous conference presentations and published several articles and book chapters on various presidents, including Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton. He comments frequently on American politics in local media outlets, especially during presidential elections.
Cunion’s appointment comes following a national search process that began this fall under the leadership of Marci Craig, director of human resources, and Dr. Sheryl Holt, director of the Physical Therapy Program.
“Mount Union is a special place that has shaped so many lives so profoundly, including my own,” said Cunion. “These are very difficult times in higher education, but I see a path for Mount Union to prevail through the disruption. It is a university that is fully engaged in looking forward as an institution that has continuously evolved to meet student needs for nearly 200 years. I am so proud to have been a part of its past, and I’m even more eager to join the University as part of its future.”