AUSTIN, Texas—Sheldon Ekland-Olson, executive vice president and provost at The University of Texas at Austin since 1998, will leave his position and return to the faculty in the Department of Sociology on Aug. 31, it was announced today (May 30).
Ekland-Olson, a professor of sociology and holder of the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Centennial Chair in Liberal Arts, was named provost by then-President Larry R. Faulkner after five years as dean of the university’s College of Liberal Arts.
During Ekland-Olson’s tenure the university strengthened its colleges and schools and their related programs. Study abroad opportunities were significantly expanded and new opportunities for undergraduate interdisciplinary programs were introduced. New undergraduate majors in fields such as environmental science, biomedical engineering and religious studies were initiated, and the university’s research efforts in neuroscience and related disciplines were enhanced. The College of Fine Arts’ national reputation grew and programs in Latin America were expanded. The university introduced its charter elementary school.
He was associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1991 to 1993 and was special assistant to the chancellor of the University of Texas System from 1988 to 1991.
“Sheldon Ekland-Olson has served with distinction as provost of the university,” said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. “As the university’s chief academic officer he has led strategies and initiatives that have had a profound impact on the quality of our educational and research programs.”
The university will conduct a national search to find Ekland-Olson’s successor, Powers said.
A nationally known expert in criminal justice and prison violence, Ekland-Olson is the author or co-author of several books, including “Texas Prisons: And the Walls Came Tumbling Down” and “The Rope, the Chair and the Needle.”
He has earned numerous teaching awards at the university, including the Alpha Kappa Delta Outstanding Teacher Award (1977-78), the Dean’s Outstanding Teacher Award in the College of Liberal Arts (1980-81) and the Liberal Arts Council Teacher of the Year Award (1986-87).
Ekland-Olson joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1971 from the Yale University Law School, where he was the Russell Sage Fellow in Law and Society. He earned his doctor’s degree from the University of Washington and his bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University.