Provost launching initiatives focused on research support, graduate education and more


Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver today announced six initiatives that include strengthening the university’s support of research, furthering connections and collaboration with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and further defining the future of graduate education.

C. Cybele Raver
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver (Vanderbilt University)

“We have heard from faculty across the university that accelerating our ability to secure major external grants, strengthening and growing the rich collaboration that exists with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and infusing faculty expertise into conversations about the future of graduate education and academic program review are crucial, current priorities,” Raver said. “These new initiatives will tap into the deep expertise of our faculty and allow us to make more rapid progress in these essential areas.”

Each initiative will be led by a faculty member with a part-time associate provost appointment in the Office of the Provost. All appointees will serve a two-year term in which they’ll dedicate part of their time to these efforts while reporting directly to a member of the vice provost team. The majority of their time and responsibilities will continue to be devoted to their current roles as faculty and leaders of departments, programs and labs.

The new initiatives are:

  • Advancing institutional efforts to secure mega awards from external sponsors, led by Doug Adams, Daniel F. Flowers Professor and Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
  • Further strengthening and building connections between programs at the university and VUMC, particularly on issues related to health equity, led by Velma McBride Murry, University Professor of human and organizational development and University Professor of health policy.
  • Accelerating and deepening collaborative work across graduate school programs and initiatives, led by Bunmi Olatunji, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology.
  • Guiding and supporting efforts to launch new cross-college academic programs, led by Kamal Saggi, Frances and John Downing Family Professor of Economics and dean of faculty affairs in the College of Arts and Science.
  • Developing and leading a robust and sustainable process for ad hoc external review of academic programs to support and strengthen those programs and the university as a whole, Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair in the Humanities, professor of French, and professor and department chair of African American and diaspora studies.
  • Implementing, monitoring and evaluating innovative ways to support doctoral programs, including the research of graduate faculty, to ensure their success and sustainability, led by Tiffiny Tung, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in Social and Natural Sciences and professor and department chair of anthropology.