Brett Powell, vice president for administrative services at Ouachita Baptist University, has been named director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education effective Feb. 9.
Powell, 47, was named to the statewide post Jan. 30 by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. As a member of the governor’s cabinet, he will serve as an advocate for higher education. He succeeds Shane Broadway who has accepted a position as vice president for government relations for Arkansas State University.
“I’m delighted with the selection of Dr. Powell to be the new director of higher education,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson in a press release. “I’m pleased with the choice and I’m pleased with the way the board conducted the selection process. I have no doubt that Dr. Powell will do a great job leading a department so crucial to the future of Arkansas.”
Powell, who has served at Ouachita since 2006, previously was associate vice chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and director of financial services at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
“Brett Powell was my first administrative hire at Ouachita. He came to us at a crucial time,” said Ouachita President Rex Horne.
“I could not be more grateful for Brett’s years of service and dedication to Ouachita,” he added. “He has had input in so many vital areas of importance in all things Ouachita. He will be missed, but we all can be proud of his contributions that will continue.”
“What a privilege it has been to serve at Ouachita and to play a small part in a number of positive changes that have occurred in recent years,” Powell said.
“While I am tremendously excited about this new opportunity, I know it means leaving behind an institution and, more importantly, the faculty, staff and students who make the institution special, that I will truly miss,” he noted. “I will always treasure my time at Ouachita, both for the rewarding work completed and for the lasting friendships gained.”
In his role as vice president for administrative services, Powell has directed the university’s accounting, budgeting, investment management, payroll, human resource services, facilities planning and management, purchasing, information technology, risk management, student financial services and auxiliary services. He supervised such major campus construction projects as the Student Village residence halls completed in 2009 and Cliff Harris Stadium dedicated in 2014.
In addition to his work at Ouachita, Powell chairs the Benchmarking Committee of the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers and is the past president of the Arkansas Association of College and University Administrators.
He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from the University of Louisiana, Monroe, as well as a Master of Business Administration and a Doctorate of Education in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He also holds an Arkansas license as a certified public accountant.
Powell and his wife, Stacey, have one daughter, Chandler, who is a junior at Ouachita.