Cockrell School Dean Fenves Named UT Austin Provost

Greg FenvesGregory 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 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 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 is an expert in simulating and predicting the effects of earthquakes on buildings, bridges, dams and other structural systems.

“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.

“As UT Austin provost, I plan to have a smooth transition for the Cockrell School. It is critically important to support the school’s mission in education and research and its continued excellence and upward movement in the rankings for the benefit of the state and the nation,” Fenves said.

“Although the Texas Legislature did not approve bond funding for university construction projects, we are continuing to make good progress to start building our transformative facility, the EERC. It is a high priority for me as dean and it will continue to be one as provost, as it is for President Powers,” Fenves said. “The EERC is essential for UT Austin to educate the engineering leaders the U.S. needs and for faculty and students to develop the breakthrough technologies to solve important problems.”

An interim dean for the Cockrell School will be named by early September. Soon after, the university will launch a national search for a new dean.

A version of this story originally appeared on UT Austin News and the Cockrell School of Engineering website.

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