Program Leadership

The Provost Scholars Program is guided by and supported by the principal leaders of the partnering institutions: Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), the East Cleveland City School District (ECCS), and Ginn Academy (CMSD).

Provost Scholars Program Leaders

Portrait of provost joy ward

Joy K. Ward is the provost and executive vice president of Case Western Reserve University. 

Known for her creativity, strategic mindset and emphasis on students’ experiences, she is also a professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences where she previously served as dean. Her depth of experience in leadership, research and teaching spans local, national and international levels. 

Ward became provost and executive vice president on Jan. 1, 2024 after serving in the interim role. As interim provost, Ward led development of a strategic initiative to add 100 net new tenured and tenure-track faculty positions, collaborated on planning for the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building and oversaw the launch of a restructured Undergraduate Advising Support Office and implementation of new Undergraduate General Education Requirements.

In her three years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Ward led dramatic growth in research, fundraising and educational activities. She greatly increased research expenditures and achieved record-breaking fundraising to support the critical impacts of the arts, humanities and sciences.

Under her leadership, the university partnered with Sara and Curt Moll to launch a $60 million initiative to advance mental health and well-being, with the goal to increase the number of mental health care providers and to advance research breakthroughs to support the Cleveland community and beyond. Ward also created the Expanding Horizons Initiative—supported by over $8 million in donor support—with the goal of advancing student-faculty collaborations in research and creative works for real-world impact.

She spearheaded the Experimental Humanities Initiative with funding from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation to support new education and research programs that integrate humanities more deeply with science and technology. Ward was also instrumental in the opening of the second phase of the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center, which has advanced the Theatre Department at Case Western Reserve, along with offering a diverse selection of music, lectures, and a variety of cultural enrichment opportunities for the campus and community.

As a researcher, Ward is internationally recognized for her work on how plants respond to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and changing climate. By incorporating the fossil record dating back to the last glacial period, she has uncovered novel insights into how plants responded to changing conditions over thousands of years, as well as understanding how plants will respond to environmental conditions predicted for the future. She has published many impactful peer-reviewed research articles, and was co-editor of the recent book, Photosynthesis, Respiration and Climate Change (Springer 2021).

Ward received her Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University and her master’s and PhD degrees from Duke University in biology. In July 2020, she was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for her research. In the past, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the White House and a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. The Kavli Foundation and U.S. National Academy of Sciences named her a Kavli Fellow, an honor reserved for the nation’s top early-career scientists. She also served as U.S. chair and advisory board member for the Frontiers of Science (U.S. National Academy of Sciences) and has served as a scientific delegate through the State Department and the AAAS. In 2022, she received the Eberly College of Science Outstanding Science Alumni Award from Penn State University.

Ward serves on the external advisory committee for the Earth and Biological Sciences Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She is also a member of the lab’s national advisory committee. Locally, Ward is a member of the board of directors of Holden Forests and Gardens.

Ward and her husband, Rob (a biology professor at Case Western Reserve), reside in Shaker Heights with Ward's mother, Joyce Dippery (a retired registered nurse, university lecturer and community volunteer). During her leisure time, Ward enjoys hiking, reading, volunteering and traveling with her family.

Dr. Henry Pettiegrew

Dr. Henry Pettiegrew is the CEO of the East Cleveland City School District. His parents made their life’s work to improve the education and lives of countless students in Cleveland Schools. Both products of the Mississippi Delta and a strong understanding that education and determination can and will improve the quality of life for your family. It was in this household he learned the value of life-long learning and its ability to give security in a world where information is moving and shared like never before. He believes in the transformative power of education.

Pettiegrew is a transformational, educational administrator with specific demonstrated success in organizational systems, curriculum development, principal professional development, instructional leadership, building teacher and principal capacity, federal and state grant management with budgetary oversight, and school reform initiatives. He is knowledgeable about No Child Left Behind, American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, Race to the Top, Title I and IIA, State Board of Education Law, Board Policies, School Facilities Contracts and Special Education Law. He has specific skills in data-driven instruction, formative and summative assessment, teacher-based team development, district and building level leadership, strategic planning and research based practices.

Provost Scholars Program Founders

Portrait of W.A. "Bud" Baeslack III

Dr. William A. "Bud" Baeslack III was Provost and Executive Vice President of Case Western Reserve University from October 1, 2008 through June 30, 2018, and was responsible for all facets of the academic programs and research of the University. As of July 1, 2018,  he has returned to the faculty as Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.

Prior to joining CWRU, Provost Baeslack served as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Executive Dean of the Professional Colleges at The Ohio State University. He is also internationally recognized for his research in the materials science and engineering field. He served four years at the U.S. Air Force Materials Laboratory as a materials engineer and technical area manager. Provost Baeslack received his Ph.D. degree in Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York.

Myrna Loy Corley

Dr. Myrna Loy Corley is the Superintendent of the East Cleveland School District. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Positive Education Program (PEP), founded in 1971, which was created in consultation with school districts in the Greater Cleveland area to enhance the academic achievements of their most challenging students.

Dr. Corley has spearheaded innovative initiatives within the District, including implementation of STEM labs, advanced placement courses, and increased technology, career, and technical offerings, with an emphasis on enhanced professional development for teachers. Dr. Corley is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for her contributions to the academic and career development of youths. In collaboration with Provost Baeslack, she helped to conceptualize and implement the Provost Scholars Program.