In October, James Grover was appointed as dean of the Graduate School shortly after taking the role of interim vice president of research.
His appointment as dean of the Graduate School came after the university decided to transform the Office of Graduate Studies into a school. According to a previous Shorthorn article, Grover was appointed as vice president of research after former incumbent Duane Dimos retired in October.
“An office of graduate studies is primarily a process operation that handles the various processes that are needed for graduate students to get through their education,” Grover said. “A graduate school is a little bit more ambitious in my mind, in the sense that it’s something which can work a little bit more on strategic directions involving graduate education.”
Grover said a specific timeline had not been established for the transformation, but he expected UTA administration would have a firm plan by the end of the year. A draft plan was created, but details about budgeting and personnel have to be decided before transforming it into an academic unit.
In the meantime, Grover will focus on helping the next vice president of research be as successful as possible.
Grover said the Graduate School will be closely related to the Office of the Vice President for Research, so the two jobs won’t be that different from each other.
“When an individual arrives as the designated appointee, you have to be prepared to help them out in terms of their understanding of all of the functions and processes and the things that are needed,” Grover said.
President Vistasp Karbhari said the search committee tasked with finding the next vice president had met about a month ago. The search started with the committee defining what they’d like to see in terms of candidate characteristics.
The search will be completed when the committee finds the best person for the job, he said. With Grover acting as an interim vice president, there was not a rush to fill the position.
He has a broad understanding of what’s happening at the university, and he will be able to continue its momentum without slowing down, Karbhari said. The search would be completed in a shorter period of time than two years, he said.
“As much as I miss [Dimos], I don’t think we’re going to skip a beat,” Karbhari said.
UTA needed a person who could take the university’s research to the next level, Karbhari said. Optimally, the next vice president would drive collaboration between faculty members across the university.
“Whoever this person is needs to be able to connect with faculty, needs to be able to connect with funding agencies, whether they’re in the state of Texas or Washington, D.C.,” Karbhari said. “And needs to be able to represent the University of Texas at Arlington as a whole.”
Pranesh Aswath, vice provost of Academic Planning and Policy, heads the search committee to find the next vice president. He coordinates the committee process while acting as a liaison between UTA and the search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.
The firm identifies potential candidates for the position after the committee provides details about job expectations and qualifications. The university will also look to advertise the position in publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Once a candidate pool is developed, the committee will review each applicant’s background and qualifications before narrowing down the shortlist, Aswath said. The list will be narrowed down to three or four candidates, who will be invited for an on-campus interview.
Typically when someone is hired for a high-level position, they’re already in a high-level position, so they can’t pick up and leave so easily. He said the committee wants the next vice president of research in position by next fall.