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Baldwin Wallace names new chief academic officer

Longtime political science professor and campus leader Dr. Thomas Sutton is taking on the mantle of BW provost.


Baldwin Wallace University has named Dr. Thomas Sutton as interim provost, the institution's chief academic officer.

Sutton steps into the role in January, following the semester's end retirement of Provost Stephen Stahl, who served more than a decade overseeing the academic affairs of the university.

Respected faculty leader

Provost Thomas Sutton

Sutton is a longtime, respected political science professor who has served in a range of leadership roles since arriving at BW in 1998, most recently as Interim Dean of BW's School of Humanities and Social Sciences and president of the BW Faculty Senate.

In announcing Stahl's retirement and Sutton's appointment, President Bob Helmer said he had asked Sutton to serve as provost for the next two academic years "as we lay the foundation for BW's thriving future."

"I have confidence that Tom will build on Steve's initiatives and bring BW to new heights of success," Helmer added.

Recognized for teaching excellence

An esteemed educator, Sutton was selected to receive a prestigious Fulbright Scholar award in 2014. The Fulbright funded a semester of scholarly work at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, where he also conducted research on election systems in the African nation.

At BW, Sutton served three years as chair of the political science department and held the Burton D. Morgan Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies from 2014-2021.

Sutton received BW's Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership in 2018 and the Strosacker Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019. He was also chosen by the Student Senate for four Faculty Excellence Awards in 2004, 2009, 2012 and 2016. 

In 2013, the United Methodist Church honored Sutton with its Exemplary Teaching Award. 

Political and Policy Expert

As director of BW's Community Research Institute (CRI), Sutton has engaged students in applied research with local, regional and statewide nonprofit and government agencies. He has consulted with and conducted research for dozens of organizations seeking data-driven approaches to problem-solving and decision-making.

Sutton also provides public opinion research results and expert analysis to a wide range of media outlets that rely on his expert voice to explain Ohio politics, government, public policy and more. His insights have regularly appeared in Cleveland media, and he has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many more. 

Sutton earned his BA in Political and Social Thought at the University of Virginia, and after 13 years of nonprofit work, he went on to pursue his Ph.D. in Political Science/Public Policy at Kent State University. His nonprofit career included work in civic education, services for homeless persons and programming for juvenile offenders and at-risk youth.

Sutton is a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO).

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