Ohio State University has chosen University of Chicago vice-provost Dr. Melissa L. Gilliam to become its next provost later this summer.
Gilliam, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, will assume the new role on August 1, pending approval from the Ohio State University board of trustees. She will be the first woman of color to serve as Ohio State Provost.
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As provost, Gilliam will be the university’s director of studies, as well as the executive vice president and part of the president’s cabinet.
“Dr Gilliam is a national leader in many areas – from recruiting, developing and training strong, engaged and innovative faculty in all disciplines to ensuring exceptional student education,” the president said Thursday. Ohio State Kristina M. Johnson in a statement. “She is a highly accomplished physician and researcher with a grounded academic background in the humanities and a long-standing dedication to service.”
“I am delighted to welcome him to our family in the State of Ohio.”
The announcement follows a nationwide search spanning six months.
Gilliam, who has been vice-president at the University of Chicago since 2016, will bring with her more than two decades of experience in clinical practice and higher education. Her job as Ohio State Director will be to work towards the university’s goal of hiring at least 350 new tenure-track faculty, with an emphasis on educators from backgrounds under-represented and whose work addresses social equity and racial disparities.
“The opportunity to work closely with President Johnson and one of the most respected and academically strong university communities in the world is a dream come true,” Gilliam said in a statement Thursday. “I look forward to engaging with the entire Ohio State community, especially the exceptional faculty, staff, students and partners who drive our academic mission.
Gilliam previously served as Dean of Diversity and Inclusion for the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago Medicine. Since 2012, she has been the founder and director of the University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Investigation and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health.
She began her career in higher education as a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Gilliam succeeds Bruce A. McPhéron, who will step down on June 30.
McPheron became Provost in June 2016 after serving as Acting Provost for six months previously. He joined the state of Ohio in 2012 and before becoming provost he was vice president of agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
McPhéron is an entomologist by training and Ohio State alumnus. He will continue to be professor of entomology at the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.