June 28, 2012
Mary Ann Rankin Appointed Provost
Dear University of Maryland Community:
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Mary Ann Rankin as our new Senior Vice President and Provost (SVPP), starting October 1, 2012.
Mary Ann is the CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), a public-private partnership headquartered in Dallas. Its mission is to expand the pipeline of successful STEM graduates (high school and college) and STEM K-12 teachers, a high national priority. The partners of NMSI include the U.S. Department of Education, many state departments of education, the College Board, Exxon Mobile Foundation, Gates Foundation, Dell Foundation, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. She will continue to serve on its board of directors.
Previously, she served for six years as chair of biological sciences and for nearly 17 years as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) at the University of Texas at Austin. When she stepped down, CNS included over 9400 undergraduates, 1800 graduate students, 365 tenured/tenure-track faculty in 16 departments and programs, and 34 research centers and institutes.
During Mary Ann's deanship, CNS grew in resources, excellence, and impact. She raised over $800M in private funding for academic programs, interdisciplinary research centers, and new academic buildings, including the $120M Gates Computer Science Complex. CNS now has 11 graduate programs ranked in the top 10 nationally. The faculty includes 15 National Academy members, 17 American Academy of Arts and Sciences members, a Nobel laureate, and several winners of MacArthur Fellowships, the Medal of Science, the Medal of Technology, and Howard Hughes awards. It typically generates more external research funding than any other college at UT Austin. She oversaw the hiring that doubled the number of women science faculty (to 30%) and the establishment of gender parity in salaries. In her last three years, she managed strategically the state-imposed budget reductions.
Mary Ann was a leader in the development of a campus-wide health sciences initiative. She oversaw the expansion and enhancement of several interdisciplinary programs in CNS. She also worked with the campus office of technology commercialization to improve technology transfer and patent portfolio management for CNS programs.
Under her leadership, CNS revamped undergraduate education in innovative ways. In particular, the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) engages one-third of the CNS entering class in supervised research. It markedly increased student retention and graduation rates, particularly among the 40% of participants who are underrepresented minorities. She created the CNS Office of Innovation and Enterprise, which introduced an entrepreneurship education component to FRI and freshman courses on critical thinking. In collaboration with the UT College of Liberal Arts (humanities and social sciences), she created the Texas Interdisciplinary Program, a special opportunity curriculum for at-risk students that enrolls and improves outcomes for over 900 students.
In collaboration with the UT College of Education, she launched UTeach, a program to increase STEM majors with teacher certification. It has produced over 700 graduates, most of whom are successful STEM K-12 teachers. UTeach has been lauded as a national model for STEM teacher preparation by several state governors, Presidents Obama and G. W. Bush, and in the National Academy report, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm." Some 34 universities in 16 states are now replicating UTeach in partnership with NMSI.
She serves on several non-profit boards, including the Austin Lyric Opera and the Southwest Institute (one of the nation's largest, non-profit R&D firms in engineering and space sciences). She is on the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee for the Division of Education and Human Resources.
Mary Ann was born in Indiana and raised throughout the Midwest by artistic parents, a professor of voice and an opera singer. She received a B.S. in biology and chemistry from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in physiology and behavior from The University of Iowa. She held an NIH post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard before joining UT Austin and becoming Professor of Zoology (now Integrative Biology). Her research lab studies the physiological basis of insect reproduction and migration, focusing on economically important herbivores.
I want to thank the SVPP search committee members for their devotion of time and effort that led to this successful conclusion. Gary LaFree (Professor of Criminology) was the chair and Roberta Rudnick (Distinguished University Professor of Geology) was the vice-chair.
To Ann Wylie, I want to express on behalf of the entire University community our heartfelt appreciation for her outstanding service as SVPP. After Mary Ann's arrival, Ann will continue for a period of time to facilitate the transition and to remain on the steering committee of the blossoming "M-power" initiative -- strategic collaborations in education, research, and technology commercialization -- between our campus and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland
This note was authorized for distribution to University of Maryland Community by: Office of the President