Leslie Zenk is Associate Provost and Chief of Staff in the Office of Academic Affairs at UNC Charlotte. She has been a professional in public higher education for over 25 years, formerly as Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Minnesota, Morris and Assistant to the Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
In her current role as Associate Provost and Chief of Staff, Zenk provides leadership to advance the priorities of the Division of Academic Affairs including management of short and long-term critical priorities, initiatives and activities as well as leadership for special projects, particularly those focused on curriculum development, policy, student success, crisis management, and the overall academic operations of the Division. Zenk directs and oversees all aspects of academic policy and collaborates with faculty on policy and curriculum development and implementation. She is responsible for the campus-wide course and curriculum review and approval process including the development and implementation of new degree programs. During her time at UNC Charlotte she has led a large-scale curriculum restructuring effort, directed a reorganization of all institutional academic policies and the subsequent creation of an online policy library, led an equity audit of all academic policies, and conceptualized, developed and oversaw collaborative events for the institution including the inaugural New Student Convocation for all entering first-year and transfer students.
As Associate Graduate Faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership, Zenk developed two new graduate courses (in-person and asynchronous online): Women in Higher Education and Curriculum in Higher Education, and serves as a mentor and dissertation committee member to students in the Master’s and Doctoral programs. She serves on the National Board of Directors for the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi including the Investment Committee, the Advisory Board for the Women in Educational Leadership Symposium, the Board of Directors for Leadership Charlotte, and as a campus representative for the North Carolina ACE Women’s Network.
Zenk was honored as the 2017 recipient of UNC Charlotte’s Employee of the Year for Innovation and the 2014 and 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Paper Award from the North Carolina Association for Research in Education. She is a graduate of Leadership Charlotte and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities/American Academic Leadership
Institute’s Becoming a Provost Academy.
A rural Minnesota native, Zenk is a first-generation college student who earned a B.A. in Communication with minors in English and Journalism from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1998, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration (with an emphasis in Higher Education) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2006 and 2014. Her academic research focuses on leadership and decision making in public universities and the ways in which institutional mission and culture as well as personal identity frame and shape leaders’ decisions. Her current research project includes a comparative analysis of institutional presidential transitions for women leaders across the United States and Germany.