Maziar named 2002-03 provost

Brad Unangst

Christine Maziar, vice president for research and Graduate School dean, will become the University’s new provost July 15, pending Board of Regents approval.

“We just immediately agreed this was the best thing for the University, that you would have someone who knows the University and would provide continuity and be a respected leader of the faculty,” said University President Mark Yudof.

Yudof made the appointment decision with interim President Robert Bruininks last week.

The provost is second in command at the University and is responsible for overseeing all of its academic programs and missions. All deans, except for those in the Academic Health Center, report to the position.

Maziar will be paid $225,000 for the one-year appointment.

Yudof and Bruininks said Maziar’s strong academic and scientific background, as well as her commitment to the University, qualified her for the position.

Maziar was appointed to her current positions in 1998. Prior to her University appointment, she was a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas-Austin for more than a decade. She served as vice provost for four years, including three years with Yudof.

“I am very committed to the notion of this university’s obligation to be stewards of the future, and part of that is ensuring the students have an outstanding educational experience,” Maziar said.

Chris Frazier, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, said Maziar’s analytical approach to problem solving and desire for feedback from faculty, staff and students are good attributes but could create a lag time in addressing issues.

“She’s going to really try to make the best decisions she can, looking at all avenues,” Frazier said. “In some circumstances, it may mean stepping back and looking at the whole picture, and sometimes that does take a little longer, but you are able to make better decisions.”

One of Maziar’s goals as a dean was to build a new model for technology transfer – bringing University innovation to the public and business sectors. Since she was appointed, the University received a top-five national ranking for the amount of start-up companies originated at the University.

As Graduate School dean, Maziar increased funding for graduate
fellowships and helped lower administrative overhead by encouraging smaller graduate programs to share resources.

Under her leadership as vice president for research, the University had two record-setting years in research funding. Maziar said she expects this year’s total will exceed the previous two.

Maziar replaces Bruininks, who planned to retire from the provost position at the end of the academic year and return to teaching after a yearlong sabbatical but instead was appointed interim president in June.

Once a permanent president is in place, Maziar will serve for 90 days, which allows the new president time to review and decide whether to continue the appointment, Bruininks said.

All senior-level administrators are renewable yearly appointments made by the president, he said.