From: Daniel Diermeier, Dean and incoming Provost
Re: Faculty Appointments in Provost's Office
Date: May 19, 2016
In the past six weeks since the announcement of my appointment to Provost, I have spent considerable time in discussions with faculty regarding all aspects of the University, a process that will continue over the next months. One of the main themes in these discussions has been the desire for a stronger presence of faculty perspectives in administrative roles and decisions. Toward these ends, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professors Sian Beilock, Melissa Gilliam, and Melina Hale to new leadership positions within the Provost Office. These appointments, which are effective July 1, 2016, reflect the first step in restructuring the Office following the decision of several colleagues to step away from their current roles.
Sian Beilock has been appointed Executive Vice Provost. Sian will tackle major strategic initiatives at the University, helping to convene and plan for advancement in areas vital to ensuring the University’s preeminence and distinction. In addition to continuing her current work on UChicago Urban (the University’s integrative efforts to bridge urban scholarship, practice and engagement), UChicagoGRAD, and other important initiatives, Sian will collaborate closely with University leaders on campus-wide space allocation and planning, and work to ensure major academic centers at the University - from the Libraries to the University of Chicago Press – support the University’s research and education mission. Sian Beilock is the Stella M. Rowley Professor in the Department of Psychology, Committee on Education and the College and, in her research, explores the brain and body factors that contribute to “choking under pressure” in all types of performance situations from test-taking, to public speaking, to athletics. A member of the University faculty since 2005, Sian joined the Provost’s office in Fall 2015 as Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and, in this role, successfully led the planning and launch of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, the creation of UChicagoGRAD, and provided leadership and support for arts initiatives such as Arts and Public Life.
Melissa Gilliam has been appointed Vice Provost for Academic Leadership, Advancement, and Diversity. Melissa will provide leadership in advancing the University’s development of scholars at all stages of the academic career ladder.  She will work to address the campus climate and the quality of faculty experiences at the University.  Melissa will address issues of recruitment and retention. She will also work with colleagues across the institution guiding and coordinating policies and practices to increase accountability and progress in diversifying the University’s faculty and students, and creating an inclusive and equitable campus. A pediatric and adolescent gynecologist, Melissa has shown remarkable leadership as Dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Biological Sciences Division and as director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3).
Melina Hale has been appointed Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives. As Vice Provost, Melina will work with faculty and deans on academic initiatives that extend beyond the prerogatives of more than one division or school. Melina will help support coordination and advancement in several key areas, ranging from the applied sciences to economics and public policy. Melina will also work to establish clear lines of communication between the Provost’s Office, the divisions and schools, faculty, and students regarding current and emerging academic initiatives. Melina received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1998 and joined the faculty in 2002. She is the William Rainey Harper Professor in the College and the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and is a member of the Committee of Neurobiology and the Committee on Computational Neuroscience. She is also a Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Melina’s research examines how the brain evolves and how the brain works with the body’s musculoskeletal mechanics to generate movement and respond to sensory input from the environment. Most recently Melina served as Dean for Faculty Affairs in the Biological Sciences Division and on the Board of the Laboratory Schools.
All three of these accomplished colleagues will bring deep experience and valuable perspectives to some of the most important issues that come before the Provost’s Office. I am delighted that Sian, Melissa, and Melina have agreed to serve in these roles and I hope you will join me in congratulating them.
Daniel Diermeier