“My job is to nurture the intellectual life of the university to its fullest by engaging and supporting our community of faculty, staff, and students. 

Above all, I want to ensure that the university’s academic mission – its educational and research purposes – serve our graduates and all our alumni for their lifetimes AND serve broader communities at home and around the globe.”

Provost Michele Gillespie 

Michele Gillespie began serving as Provost on July 1, 2022.  In her first year, she led the academic Strategic Framework process, hired three new deans, and re-organized the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Prior to serving as Provost, Gillespie was Dean of the College. She led the first comprehensive core curriculum review in two decades, launched a five-year college-wide Diversity Action Plan, co-chaired the President’s First Year Experience Commission, and implemented significant new academic programming, including the Wake Washington Program and Wake Downtown, and the Environment and Sustainability, African American Studies, Engineering, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors. 

Gillespie joined the Wake Forest Faculty in 1999, was named Kahle Associate Professor in 2004, Associate Provost in 2007, and Presidential Endowed Chair of Southern History in 2013, before assuming the deanship in 2015.  She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Princeton University and her B.A. in English and History from Rice University. She is an award-winning teacher, and her publications include two prize-winning books: Free Labor in an Unfree World: White Artisans in Slaveholding Georgia, 1789-1860 (2000) and Katharine and R.J. Reynolds: Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South (2012). 

The Role of the Provost

The Provost serves as the chief academic officer of the University, and plays a crucial leadership role in shaping the academic experience.

At Wake Forest University, the mission of the Office of the Provost is to provide vision, leadership, and support for the advancement of academic excellence and innovation by faculty, staff and students across all schools and programs.

“I want to ensure that Wake Forest has the resources and strategic vision so our faculty can be excellent teacher-scholars and lead path breaking research, scholarship and creative work across disciplines and schools.” 

Provost Michele Gillespie