After serving Northern Arizona University for 12 years in various administrative positions, including as provost since 2012, Laura Huenneke is stepping away from her current position on July 1. She will return to research and teaching at NAU, concentrating on biology and ecology.

President Rita Cheng plans within the next few weeks to launch a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.

“It’s been something I’ve been thinking about a long time,” Huenneke said. “I agreed to help with the new president’s transition and then move to what I love doing most.”

Cheng expressed support for Huenneke’s decision to return to what brought her to higher education in the first place. “When she speaks about her research you can see this energy, a spark.”

The provost also carries the title of vice president for Academic Affairs and collaborates with the president in setting the university’s academic path. “The position is critical to NAU’s success,” Cheng said. “Our faculty look to the provost for vision and leadership, and students benefit directly from strategies implemented by that office.”

She added that she is pleased Huenneke is remaining at NAU. “I am confident she will continue to contribute to the success of the university,” Cheng said.