Gregory L. Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named executive vice president and provost of UT Austin. His appointment was announced today by university President Bill Powers and is effective Oct. 1.
"Greg Fenves is exactly the right person for the job," said Powers. "He has led initiatives to improve research competitiveness, undergraduate retention and graduation rates, international and entrepreneurship programs, and fundraising for the Engineering Education and Research Center. He has the skills and experience to advance UT in many key areas."
Fenves, 56, has been dean of the Cockrell School since 2008. He came to the university from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, assistant director at the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, and professor of engineering, among other positions. He earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and his master's and doctor's degrees from UC Berkeley. He currently holds the Jack and Beverly Randall Dean's Chair for Excellence in Engineering and is an expert in simulating and predicting the effects of earthquakes on human-made structures.
"I am excited to work with President Powers, the deans and faculty in achieving the goal of UT Austin's becoming the best public university in the nation," said Fenves. "The foundations of our great university are excellent education, innovative research, and the integration of teaching and scholarship that is essential to preparing our students for leadership.
"My top priorities as provost will build upon these foundations," Fenves said. "These include strengthening the connections of our undergraduate students to the knowledge-creating communities in departments and programs, increasing the number of highly ranked graduate programs at UT, recruiting and retaining world-class faculty, and building the Dell Medical School as the leader for 21st century medicine and health care delivery. By meeting these objectives, UT can offer unmatched opportunities for our students, the state of Texas and our nation."
The selection of Fenves resulted from a national search conducted by a committee composed of university deans, faculty members and students. The committee forwarded a short list of finalists to the president.
"Greg will provide the strong leadership and commitment that we have come to expect from the provost's office under Steve Leslie," said Randy Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, who served on the search committee. "The university has greatly benefitted from Greg's commitment to building excellence in engineering and in the STEM disciplines, and from his keen understanding of the importance of the humanities, social sciences and fine arts in building a world-class university. It is no wonder that he is universally respected among the deans at UT Austin."
Fenves will replace current Executive Vice President and Provost Steven W. Leslie, who has served in that role since January 2007.
"Steve Leslie has done an outstanding job," said Powers. "He has been instrumental in the creation of the Dell Medical School, greater strategic planning and budgeting of the academic programs, and developing innovative learning technologies."
Leslie, the James E. Bauerle Centennial Professor in Drug Dynamics in the College of Pharmacy, will remain provost until Sept. 30, after which he will serve as special assistant to the president working with community partners involved in the Dell Medical School.
An interim dean for the Cockrell School will be named in the near future.