Kaler names new VP of research

Brian Herman will replace Tim Mulcahy on Jan. 1, pending Board of Regents approval.

by Emma Nelson

A University of Texas administrator will be the next head of the University of Minnesota’s research efforts and funding.

Brian Herman will begin the job Jan. 1, pending regents’ approval. He was chosen after a five-month search spurred by the looming departure of current Vice President Tim Mulcahy.

Herman will receive a $305,000 annual salary — about $45,000 more than Mulcahy. Mulcahy received the University’s 40th-highest base salary in 2011 at $262,000.

Herman will also receive $15,000 each year in retirement benefits and up to $20,000 for moving expenses.

As vice president for research, Herman will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of research at the University, including ensuring compliance with federal and state laws and regulations.

Herman said he was drawn to the University because of its reputation for research, the University’s leadership and the infrastructure built by Mulcahy, who will retire in December after serving more than seven years in the position.

The University of Minnesota’s research expenditures have increased 49.4 percent since 2004, according to a survey by the National Science Foundation.

For the past two years, Herman has served as the chancellor’s health fellow in collaboration and a special assistant to the president for the University of Texas Health Science Center.

He also was the first vice president for research at the University of Texas Health Science Center, serving in that position for seven years.

Herman started the position when the university was re-evaluating how it wanted to organize research in the future, said Kenneth Kalkwarf, interim president of the Health Science Center.

Herman “did a remarkable job” in reorganizing the university’s research infrastructure, Kalkwarf said.

“To get a campus to move, people say, sometimes is like turning a battleship,” he said. “Brian did a very good job of turning our battleship.”

President Eric Kaler appointed a search committee in May to fill Mulcahy’s vacancy. It was co-chaired by Aaron Friedman, vice president for Health Sciences and dean of the Medical School, and Steve Crouch, dean of the College of Science and Engineering.

The committee held off-campus interviews with about 12 people, Crouch said. Three finalists were chosen, including Herman, Mark Banaszak Holl of the University of Michigan and Meredith Hay of the University of Arizona.

The finalists gave public on-campus talks as part of the interview process, and attendees gave feedback.

The choice to appoint Herman to the position reflects not only the opinions of the University’s senior leadership, but also of faculty, staff and other administrators, Crouch said.

Herman said he only expects one challenge in his new position.

“It’s cold,” he said. “I’m starting January 1, and I’m from Texas.”