Three finalists have been selected as finalists for the University of Arkansas chancellor post, with the first public forum with a finalist set for Oct. 7.
UA System President Don Bobbitt and the search committee announced Friday afternoon (Oct. 2) that Dr. April Mason, provost and senior vice president at Kansas State University; Dr. Joseph Steinmetz, executive vice president and provost at Ohio State University; and Dr. Jeffrey Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas.
“I am very excited about introducing these individuals to the campus,” Bobbitt said in a statement. “I would like to thank the search committee for its advisory work with Greenwood/Asher to identify and provide feedback to me about the prospective candidates. I have personally met with each of these candidates and have gotten to know them, their leadership characteristics and their track record.”
A public forum will be held during each visit at 10:30 a.m. at the Faulkner Center for Performing Arts. The theme of the presentations will be: “Moving the Needle: Thoughts on taking the University of Arkansas into the future.”
The public forums will be held:
• Oct. 7 – Dr. April Mason
• Oct. 13 – Dr. Joseph Steinmetz
• Oct. 15 – Dr. Jeffrey Vitter
Each candidate will give his or her own views on elevating the institution and then will take questions from the audience. The candidates will also spend time during their visits meeting with deans, faculty and student leaders, other administrators and the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.
Bobbitt will ultimately select a single finalist to recommend to the Board of Trustees. The board has final approval on the chancellor selection.
• Mason joined K-State in January 2010 as provost and senior vice president. She came to K-State from Colorado State University, where she had been dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences, now the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Mason had been dean at Colorado State since August 2004. She supervised the operations of six departments and three schools with about 100 tenure track faculty, many special appointment and adjunct faculty, 4,000 undergraduates and 850 graduate students. She also was a professor in the department of food science and human nutrition. Before joining Colorado State, Mason was associate dean for discovery and engagement in the College of Consumer and Family Sciences at Purdue University. As a faculty member in foods and nutrition at Purdue, she conducted research in the area of trace mineral availability from plant foods. She also taught in the cooperative extension program at Purdue for 20 years.
She was Colorado State's representative to the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities' Board on Human Sciences, where she was on the executive committee since 2005 and board chair in 2009.
Mason is author or co-author of refereed publications, published research abstracts and book chapters and proceedings. Her research has been supported by more than $12 million in grants, and includes numerous grants from agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Her research focuses on the availability of key nutrients from plant based food products, which provide critical calories and essential nutrients to a large proportion of the world's population. She also presents lectures on food safety and food security.
She is a member of numerous academic, professional and scholarly societies, including Sigma Xi; American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences; Institute of Food Technologists; American Society for Nutritional Sciences; Epsilon Sigma Phi extension fraternity; Gamma Sigma Delta; Association of Chief Academic Officers; and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' Council on Academic Affairs.
She attended the Overseas School of Rome in Italy before going on to earn her bachelor's degree in biology from Mount Union College, Alliance, Ohio. She has a master's degree in plant physiology and a doctorate in foods and nutrition from Purdue University, which recognized her as one of its 2015 Distinguished Women Scholars, an honor that is given to outstanding alumnae of the university.
• Steinmetz became Ohio State’s chief academic officer on July 1, 2013. As executive vice president and provost, he oversees the administration, coordination, and development of all academic functions of the university. Steinmetz came to Ohio State in 2009, tapped to serve as vice provost for arts and sciences and executive dean of the then-new College of Arts and Sciences. With his leadership, the former five independent colleges of arts and sciences were unified into the largest arts and sciences college in the country.
Before coming to Ohio State, Steinmetz was dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas, where he was also a university distinguished professor. He previously served for 19 years at Indiana University, where he was executive associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the Department of Psychology. At Indiana he was also a distinguished professor of psychological and brain sciences.
Throughout his career and administrative leadership, he has been committed to strengthening interdisciplinary research and collaborations across departments and colleges.
A nationally respected behavioral neuroscientist, Dr. Steinmetz was recognized in 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences for his contributions to the fields of experimental psychology and neuroscience. In 2012 he was named an AAAS Fellow.
His research interests include neuroanatomical and neurophysiological substrates of learning and memory; the effects of alcohol on neural and behavioral function; neurobiological and behavioral models of fetal alcohol syndrome; and the neurobiology of simple human learning, memory, and cognitive function.
Steinmetz earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at Central Michigan University and his doctorate at Ohio University.
• Vitter is the provost and executive vice chancellor and the Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas. As provost, Vitter is the chief academic and operations officer for the Lawrence and Edwards campuses. He oversees strategic planning and implementation, geared toward KU's vision as a top-tier public international research university.
The strategic plan Bold Aspirations focuses upon four important areas: energizing undergraduate education, elevating doctoral education, driving discovery and innovation, and engaging scholarship for public impact. Drivers include developing synergies, people, diversity, resources, and infrastructure. He has overseen the creation of the first-ever university-wide KU Core curriculum, expansion of the Schools of Engineering and Business, boosting multidisciplinary research and funding around four strategic initiatives, major growth of technology commercialization and corporate partnerships, and administrative reorganization and efficiency.
Before coming to KU, Vitter held a similar post at Texas A&M University. He served as the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science and Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University. He held a distinguished professorship at Duke University and served at Duke as chair of the Department of Computer Science. He had earlier progressed through the faculty ranks and in leadership roles at Brown University.
His educational degrees include a B.S. with highest honors in mathematics in 1977 from the University of Notre Dame; a Ph.D. in computer science under Prof. Donald Knuth in 1980 from Stanford University; and an M.B.A. in 2002 from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. His hometown is New Orleans, La. He and his wife Sharon (née Weaver, KU Pharmacy '78) have three children.
He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (NSF CISE). Dr. Vitter serves on the executive committee as chair of the Council on Academic Affairs of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). He was on the Board of Directors of the Computing Research Association (CRA), where he continues to co-chair the Government Affairs Committee. He has served on the Board of Advisors for the School of Science and Engineering at Tulane University in New Orleans. He was chair of ACM SIGACT, the Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory of the world's largest computer professional organization, the Association for Computing Machinery.
Vitter’s research deals with the algorithmic aspects of processing, compressing, and communicating massive amounts of information. He has been elected a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has been named National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator, a Fulbright Scholar, and an IBM Faculty Development Awardee. He has over 300 book, journal, conference, and patent publications reflecting his research interests. His Google Scholar h-index is over 65, and he is an ISI highly cited researcher.