Focus on advancing campus priorities

Herbert Lee
Interim Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Herbert Lee

As you may be aware, our previous campus provost and executive vice chancellor (CP/EVC), Alison Galloway, has stepped down after more than six years of outstanding service. We are concluding our search for the next CP/EVC, but that is not quite done. In between, I’m honored to have been asked to fill in as interim CP/EVC.

For the past six years, I’ve served the campus as vice provost for Academic Affairs and campus diversity officer for faculty. In that role, I’ve advised the CP/EVC on academic planning, academic resource allocation, and academic personnel, and I’ve overseen online education, accreditation, the Arboretum, and the development of our new Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning. This insider knowledge of our campus, our policies, and our practices will hopefully be helpful in this new interim role. I am also looking forward to learning new areas and working with more of the great people on our campus.

I am also faculty in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. I am an applied Bayesian statistician, and my primary research area is statistical modeling for computer simulations. Examples of my research include helping NASA model rocket boosters and helping hydrologists understand underground water flow. I am discovering that there are large amounts of tables, figures, and budgets that cross the CP/EVC’s desk, so it is helpful to come from a discipline that studies data.

Outside of work, I am an avid rock climber, although these days I am mostly confined to the climbing gym. I greatly enjoy the puzzle aspect of climbing, where you have to both think about what you are doing, and then physically do it. And I have found that regular physical activity is a good balance to the stresses of the office.

I will only be in this position for a limited amount of time, so my primary goal is to keep the campus running smoothly and to keep campus priorities moving forward. We have a number of things in the planning process, and they need to be progressing or brought to completion. One example is our first-year writing curriculum; our faculty have been working on proposals for revision, and I hope that we can complete that process in the next few months. Another big project that needs to advance is the building of new housing on the west side of campus. We need to continue to improve our retention and graduation rates, and to grow our graduate enrollment. I don’t plan any major changes in direction, but there is a lot to be done to keep us moving forward.