Engineering Dean Greg Fenves Elevated to Provost

Gregory Fenves will serve as UT provost beginning Oct. 1, President Bill Powers announced Thursday. In his new role, he’ll oversee academic affairs for the state flagship.

Fenves, 56, has served as dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering since 2008. An expert in civil engineering, he came to the University from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and advanced degrees from Berkeley. In his role at the Cockrell School, Fenves focused on student success and retention, research, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

His focus as provost will be on undergraduate education, increasing the number of highly ranked graduate programs, recruiting, and building the Dell Medical School.

“By meeting these objectives,” Fenves said in a press release, “UT can offer unmatched opportunities for our students, the state of Texas, and our nation.”

During Fenves’ tenure, the Cockrell School has achieved more than a dozen top-10 rankings for both undergraduate and graduate programs, and is currently 10th overall for undergraduate programs, and eighth in graduate education.

As dean, Fenves has also been active off campus, including as a voice for UT’s proposed Engineering Education and Research Center (EERC), a next generation facility that aims to bring together engineers from across disciplines with business leaders and entrepreneurs in a flexible classroom and laboratory space. The EERC would also replace some of the school’s outdated facilities and help secure the school’s high rankings.

The EERC is meant to be funded by a trifecta of UT System investment, private philanthropy, and a type of construction bond called TRBs. Those bonds, which must be approved by the legislature, are still waiting for passage. Despite bipartisan support, TRBs can only be added to the agenda of the third special session by Gov. Perry, who has indicated he will not consider more items until transportation funding is passed.

Fenves discussed the EERC, its innovations and potential, in the inaugural episode of the Texas Exes UT Advocates podcast.

In announcing the promotion, Powers said Fenves was exactly the right person for the job.

“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,” Powers said. “He has the skills and experience to advance UT in many key areas.”

Fenves succeeds Steven Leslie, who will stay in the role until Sept. 30, after which Leslie will work with community partners involved in the Dell Medical School as special assistant in the president’s office.

The Cockrell School has yet to announce Fenves’ replacement, but is expected to appoint an interim dean soon.

Listen to Fenves discuss his goals as provost, below.

Photo courtesy Cockrell School of Engineering.

 

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