New Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Scott M. Lanyon to the position of vice provost and dean of graduate education effective June 20, 2016, subject to approval by the Board of Regents at its May meeting. In this position, Scott will work in collaboration with faculty and collegiate leadership to set strategic priorities and sustain policies that advance the quality, reputation, stature, and goals of research-based graduate education. He will have primary oversight and administrative responsibility for the Graduate School, which has refocused its mission on research programs as part of the recent restructuring of post-baccalaureate education at the University.

Professor Lanyon brings to his new position broad administrative and scholarly experience and deep engagement with graduate education. A professor of biological sciences, he has since 2008 been head of the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, where he oversaw an external review of its top-ranked graduate program, championed diversity and mentoring initiatives, and worked to enhance graduate student support—including the creation of an innovative program positioning students for prestigious fellowships that has been adopted by multiple graduate programs at the University. From 1995 to 2008, Professor Lanyon was director of the University’s James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History, where he strengthened interdisciplinary research and engagement and led the Bell through strategic planning, including for a new building.

Professor Lanyon has been involved in a variety of efforts to strengthen graduate education.  He was chair of the Special Committee on Graduate Education, appointed jointly by my office and the Faculty Consultative Committee in 2013. In this role he led a collaborative process that thoughtfully addressed the challenges and opportunities facing graduate education at the University. This was also a strong focus of his work as vice chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee and chair of the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs.

Professor Lanyon joined the University faculty in 1995 after serving in multiple leadership positions on the scientific staff of the Field Museum of Natural History, including chair of the Department of Zoology and deputy vice president for academic affairs; concurrently, he was a lecturer and co-chair for the University of Chicago’s interdisciplinary graduate program in evolutionary biology. He earned his Ph.D., in ornithology, from Louisiana State University. His research has focused on comparative study of behavioral and morphological evolution in birds.

He is president of the American Ornithologists Union, and has been a board member for Minnesota Audubon and the Society of Systematic Biologists, among other leadership roles. He has been recognized as a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences and has received the University’s President’s Award for Outstanding Service.

I am confident that Scott’s experience, vision, and collaborative style of leadership will help to provide a strong framework for graduate education at the University. I want to thank the members of the search committee--Marilyn Bruin, Colin Campbell, Sean Garrick, Nicholas Goldsmith, Megan Gunnar, Robert McMaster, Katherine Scheil, Andrea Schokker, and chair Steve Crouch--for their careful and thoughtful work. I also want to thank Henning Schroeder again for his distinguished service and for his continued dedication as he moves into a new role focused on the development of a professional education community that will further strengthen post-baccalaureate education at the University.

Karen Hanson
Executive Vice President and Provost

Sent April 25, 2016 by Provost Hanson to the administrative email list and to Twin Cities and Duluth faculty.