Susan V. Bryant, internationally acclaimed biologist with a 40-year history serving the campus, has been named interim executive vice chancellor & provost for UC Irvine, effective July 9.
She succeeds Michael R. Gottfredson, who will become the president of the University of Oregon on Aug. 1.
Bryant joined the UCI faculty in 1969 and held leadership positions from 1973 to 2010, including vice chancellor of research and dean of biological sciences. She is suspending her retirement to serve as interim provost.
“Susan Bryant is an outstanding leader, scientist, teacher and administrator,” said Chancellor Michael Drake. “She is a leading expert in the study of limb regeneration, with research highlighted in more than 100 publications. In addition, she is a champion of initiatives that improve our university and community, from stem cell research to gender and diversity equity in the sciences. She arrived in Irvine as a young faculty member when the campus was just four years old, so she understands UC Irvine as well as anyone. She is highly respected by faculty members, staff and students, and her credentials and experience fully qualify her to fulfill the interim provost role.”
In the role, Bryant will oversee academics and operations, with responsibility for schools, research programs and financial and strategic planning. In addition, she will shepherd the recruitment, development and maintenance of high-quality faculty and students while managing budget challenges.
“I’m proud of UC Irvine’s rise to one of the nation’s top public research institutions,” Bryant said. “Just last month, the Times Higher Education ranked UCI as the top U.S. university younger than 50. Mike Gottfredson built an impressive legacy of high-quality education, and I plan to extend this commitment to excellence, working closely with my colleagues to enhance UC Irvine’s position as one of the premier universities in the world.”
As vice chancellor for research from 2006 to 2010, Bryant oversaw significant increases in government and private support, streamlined and reorganized the office, strengthened campus research centers, and helped facilitate technology transfer.
After retiring from that position, she continued her research as a professor emeritus in developmental and cell biology. “I have some unfinished business in science that I want to complete,” she said at the time. She continued studying fundamental rules of limb regeneration that may one day lead to new therapies for replacing or repairing damaged body parts.
Bryant served as dean of biological sciences from 2000 to 2006. Other administrative posts included interim dean of biological sciences, assistant vice chancellor for plans and programs, chair of developmental and cell biology, and program director of the National Science Foundation developmental biology program. She is a strong believer in researchers making a service commitment to the campus.
“To be good at research, you have to settle on what you want to do and figure out how to do it; it’s very individual and internal,” she said. “When you’re an administrator, you have to make things work for others. And that concept of service is something I enjoy immensely. There’s a satisfaction to be gained from doing something that changes your environment for the better.”
Her dedication was rewarded in 2010 with UCI’s highest recognition – The Medal. Professionally, she has been honored as an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the Association for Women in Science. She is a member of the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and of the California Council on Science and Technology.
She earned her doctorate at the University of London in 1967 when there were no women on the faculty. That experience was part of what inspired her to pursue a National Science Foundation grant at UCI that funded program and policy changes designed to increase the number of women faculty members. The ADVANCE program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, was later extended to include minority faculty of any gender. Her appreciation of diversity says much about her leadership style.
“At UCI, having a more diverse community of people discussing issues allows you to hear things you haven’t heard before, that are not your experience,” she said. “Outstanding scholarship, teaching, service and leadership are all areas that are important to the success of UCI as a rapidly rising world-class academic institution.”
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, the campus contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.
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