Dr. Tom Risch has been named vice provost for research and technology transfer and the executive director of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute at Arkansas State University, ASU Provost Lynita Cooksey said Wednesday (April 24). Risch served in an interim capacity in both areas during this academic year.
“Tom has done an excellent job in leading our professional staff and researchers in these two important mission areas for Arkansas State, and it is fitting that we announce his permanent promotion just following Create@State week,” Cooksey said.
The holder of the Judd Hill Endowed Chair of Environmental Biology, Risch previously served as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. Risch’s animal specialties are wide ranging from native bat species in Arkansas to coordination of human-elephant conflict research with students from Nepal.
Among his recent work, he is one of the university’s leaders in the red wolf conservation projects coordinated with the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis and the Smithsonian Institution.
Earning his Ph.D. from Auburn University, Risch joined ASU in 2001 after serving in a post-doctoral research position at Auburn. He was promoted to associate professor in 2006 and professor in 2011.
Risch served as the director of the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program from 2009 to 2013. Named interim department chair in 2010, he was made the permanent chair for the Department of Biological Sciences in 2011, a role he held until stepping into his current administrative roles in 2018.
In other ASU appointment business, Cathy Naylor is changing roles to become the employee training and development coordinator for the Division of Finance and Administration, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Lori Winn said. In her new role, Naylor will conduct new employee orientation, develop curriculum for new training programs and administer the learning management system for the HR division.
“We are pleased to welcome Cathy into our human resources area, and we are looking forward to new training opportunities that she will be coordinating for our employees,” Winn said.
Naylor previously served as assistant director of budget and planning for the Division of Academic Affairs and Research. A graduate of ASU in business marketing, she worked in the private sector as a manager for two regional companies prior to joining the school in 2016.