New deanof grad school appointed

by Nancy Ngo

University President Mark Yudof imported his second Texan to fill an administrative post when he named Christine Maziar the vice president for research and dean of the graduate school last month.
Her appointment comes seven months after Yudof designated fellow Longhorn Tonya Moten Brown as his new chief of staff.
Maziar replaces current dean Mark Brenner, who was also among the four finalists. Yudof said his fate at the University is undetermined, but the two are to meet and discuss possible appointments for Brenner.
“Mark has been exceptional as dean of the graduate school, and I think students are going to miss him as a dean,” said Tom Foster, a member of the search committee and past president of the Council of Graduate Students.
Maziar, who is the current provost and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, will arrive in June. Upon Maziar’s arrival, Yudof wants to see her build a new model for technology transfer. This involves bringing University innovations into the public and business sectors.
“I think we’re in an age at the University when technology transfer is extremely important,” Yudof said.
Maziar said she plans to build upon the University’s relationships with private industries and seek their support for University research. Like practices of other colleges and universities around the country, attracting private research dollars is crucial at a time of declining state aid, Maziar said.
A strong research base was what mainly attracted her to the job.
“I knew the University was a highly regarded school and had a strong research tradition,” Maziar said. “On the research side we’re already ready. We’ll be challenged to grow that portfolio in the next decade.”
Maziar will also be challenged to repair the University’s rocky relationship with the National Institutes of Health. The NIH is one of the main research grant providers to the University.
Part of a $109 million federal lawsuit by the government claimed that the University took $19.6 million from the NIH to develop ALG, an organ transplant drug the University profited from but was not licensed for sale. The University is currently on probation with the NIH for the grant mismanagement.
Maziar said she has yet to study what should be done to restore trust with the NIH, but she will most likely take the advice of teams and faculty committees that have already been advising the administration on the issue.
Whatever the outcome, there will be a regularized relationship with the NIH, Maziar said.
Maziar was selected partly because of her strong relationship with student government at Texas, which is a key qualification for the position, selection committee members say.
Matthew Tirrell, chairman of the search committee and professor of chemical engineering and materials science, said Maziar’s colleagues reinforced her ability to cooperate with others.
“People were very impressed with her organization skills and her ability to relate to people in a personal way,” he said. “She doesn’t have a bureaucratic outlook, but a strong interpersonal approach.”
Maziar stressed continuing to build strong undergraduate and graduate programs will be a key focus during her stay at the University. “I want us to be judged by the success of our students,” she said.