Welch became president of the ASU System in April 2011 and has become one of the state’s leading advocates for higher education. He is co-chair of the executive council of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, vice chair of the American Academic Leadership Institute Board of Directors, and previously served as chair of the Board of Directors of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education.
During his tenure, Dr. Welch has hired new chancellors for all seven of the system’s campuses. Among the system’s major expansion initiatives under his leadership are the merger of Mid-South Community College in West Memphis (now ASU Mid-South); the opening of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State; opening of a $100 million privately funded A-State campus in Queretaro, Mexico; the merger of College of the Ouachitas in Malvern (now ASU Three Rivers); and the merger of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. Additionally, the ASU System office was relocated to Little Rock and expanded to enhance its statewide exposure and position in higher education leadership at the State Capitol.
He previously served as president of Henderson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope; vice chancellor for academic affairs at ASU-Beebe; and dean of university studies at Pulaski Technical College. Dr. Welch also worked at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has served as an instructor of education and political science at three different colleges in Arkansas.
Dr. Welch is past president of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges and served as chairman of the board of the Arkansas Association of Public Universities. He serves on the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, is a former board member for the Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, and was inducted into the Arkansas Boys State Hall of Fame. AY Magazine named Welch as one of the “Powerful Men of 2013”, and in 2005, Arkansas Business selected Welch to “40 Under 40,” which profiled 40 “intriguing business and political leaders under age 40.” His experience in the governmental affairs arena includes serving as a White House intern and on the staffs of U.S. Sen. David Pryor and then-U.S. Rep. Blanche Lincoln.