Oakland University Selects Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost

Britt Rios-Ellis
Britt Rios-Ellis // Photo courtesy of Oakland University

Britt Rios-Ellis has been selected as executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at Oakland University in Rochester.

She was selected following a national search and is slated to take her position on Jan. 4, 2021.

“The appointment of Dr. Rios-Ellis is the result of an extensive and rigorous national search that identified more than 500 prospects from public and private universities,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of Oakland. “From her first interaction with the search committee, Dr. Rios-Ellis distinguished herself by her collaborative approach, her poise, her sensitivity, and her impressive preparedness for the position.”

Previously, Rios-Ellis was the founding dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services at California State University, Monterey Bay. She led strategic planning efforts, established nursing and social work departments, and co-founded the Master of Science Physician Assistant Program.

“I felt a strong sense of connection with the OU community and the mission-driven way in which leadership, faculty, and staff seek to transform students’ lives through quality education,” Rios-Ellis says. “OU’s focus on diversity and inclusive excellence is also a great match and well-aligned with my personal philosophy, life’s work, and career focus.”

While at California State University, Rios-Ellis forged partnerships with local hospitals, clinics, health networks, and community-based organizations to increase the university’s impact on community health and help support regional workforce needs. She also spearheaded the college’s Diversity Celebration Series to highlight contributions of diverse national leaders for Hispanic Heritage Month, World AIDS Day, African American History Month, and National Minority Health Month.

Rios-Ellis has published and presented on public health and education issues, focusing particularly on HIV and AIDS in the Latino community. She served as co-chair of the National Latino AIDS Action Network, co-chair of the National Institutes of Health Office of AIDS Research Hispanic Advisory Group, and co-chair of the Sexual Health Workgroup of the Centers for Disease Control Health Resource Services Administration Advisory Council.

From 2005-2015, she served as founding director of the California State University, Long Beach Center for Latino Community Health, Evaluation, and Leadership Training. She has appeared on Telemundo, CNN, and ABC World News Tonight and was named Woman of the Year by the National Hispanic Business Women’s Association.

After completing bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish, Rios-Ellis earned a master’s degree in health and fitness management and a doctorate degree in community health, all from the University of Oregon.