Sue Carter named provost for Rachel Carson College

Professor Sue Carter
As Rachel Carson College provost, Sue Carter will oversee academic programs including the minor in sustainability studies, the core course component of the Academic Literacy Curriculum, and more.

Professor Sue Carter has been named provost of Rachel Carson College, effective July 1.

Carter is a professor of physics, and the Narinder Kapany Professor in Entrepreneurship. She's also the associate dean of the Division of Graduate Studies and the director for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development. She joined UC Santa Cruz in 1995.

Carter said her vision for Rachel Carson College is to strengthen its role in supporting students as they seek to create a more sustainable future and make it a place for them to gain skills needed for green careers in which they can develop sustainable innovations to preserve the environment.

The college was named in 2016 in honor of Rachel Carson, a writer and conservationist who is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.

“I’m excited to continue the legacy and vision built by the college’s previous provosts and empowered by the Webster Foundation’s transformation gift,” Carter said. “I plan to work beside our students, staff, faculty, alumni, and greater sustainability-focused community to make Rachel Carson College a leader in innovation at the interface between the environment and society."

In the last decade, Carter has served as the chief technical advisor and/or scientific founder at four start-up companies, including Add-vision, Solexant (now Siva Power), Soliculture and IRIS Science Academy and has also served as a scientific advisor to companies like Nitto Denko and Integrated Biometrics. She has also worked as a research staff member at several companies, including General Motors, UpJohn (now Pfizer), AT&T/Lucent Bell Laboratories and IBM Almaden Research Center. She is a recipient of the 1996 Packard Fellowship and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

“Sue is a perfect fit to Rachel Carson College,” said Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Richard Hughey. “She has been dedicated to undergraduate opportunities to make a difference through research, entrepreneurship, and creativity since her time as an assistant professor, and has been closely involved in the college’s minor in sustainability studies.”

With more than 100 publications, Carter’s research focuses on thin film optoelectronic technologies, solid state lighting, biosensors, solar energy, and the integration of these technologies with agriculture.

She has served as a board member of the UC Energy Institute and California Solar Collaborative, the Chair of the American Physics Society Group for Energy Research and Applications, and currently serves as member of the UCOP Applied Research Working Group for the Carbon Neutrality Initiative. She was the 2016 recipient of UCSC’s Climate Champion Award, was the main organizer for the UC-wide Carbon Slam, and is the founder of the Sustainability Lab (S-lab), which provides a facility for UC Santa Cruz students to pursue research projects and innovations related to sustainability.

As Rachel Carson College provost, Carter will oversee academic programs including the minor in sustainability studies, the core course component of the Academic Literacy Curriculum, service learning associated with the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, and the awarding of degrees. She will also join the Council of Provosts, the body that continuously focuses on student outcomes and experiences within the colleges, the campus’s distinctive communities of scholarship.

She will continue to serve as director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development.