Macias named provost, will step down as dean

Executive Vice Chancellor Edward S. Macias, Ph.D., dean of Arts & Sciences and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, has been named provost, effective Jan. 1, 2009, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced.

Macias will relinquish his duties as dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences on June 30, 2008, and will take on expanded leadership responsibilities as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs following a six-month sabbatical. Macias was the last person to hold the position of provost at Washington University, from 1988 to 1995. Since that time, he has continued to maintain the duties of chief academic officer as the executive vice chancellor and dean of Arts & Sciences.

Edward S. Macias

An interim dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences will be named soon, and the University will launch a national search for a new dean, Wrighton said.

“Ed has been a visionary throughout his career as a scientist, teacher and an administrative leader,” Wrighton said. “He brings great experience in this role, as he has been the guiding force behind the strengthening and broadening of Arts & Sciences at Washington University. He knows how to plan for the future and he has a keen ability to bring those plans to fruition.

“At this point in the history of the University, I believe it is crucial to re-establish the role of provost, and I can’t think of another person as capable and as ready to assume those responsibilities as Ed. I am even more confident in our ability to accomplish our goals as a consequence of this appointment.”

When he becomes provost, Macias will share responsibility with the chancellor and the academic deans for the oversight of the educational and scholarly programs of the University. The provost is the chief academic officer of the University, responsible for working with the deans to enhance the quality and impact of the University’s academic mission. The provost, working with the executive vice chancellor for administration and the chief financial officer, also has responsibility for coordinating the budgeting and capital planning of the University.

“Ed Macias has served Washington University exceptionally well and is one of the most respected and experienced academic leaders at the University,” said David W. Kemper, chairman of the board of trustees and chairman, president and CEO of Commerce Bancshares, Inc. “His work as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs will be vital in realizing the plans that are being developed for the future.”

“Ed knows Washington University extremely well and has deep roots here and a broad set of relationships across all schools,” said James E. McLeod, vice chancellor for students and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “He has an intimate knowledge of how things are done and has an extraordinary appreciation for the value of this intellectual community.”

As provost, Macias will work with the seven school deans to coordinate and expand collaboration between the schools, and will explore common educational areas such as interdisciplinary programs, intra-school programs, and internationalization.

“Our success over the past decade has included a significant increase in the quality of our students, faculty, programs and reputation,” Macias said. “Our challenge today is to increase this trajectory. Our dedication to education and research will remain, but we must always strive to improve what we do. I’m looking forward to working closely with the schools and the central administration to encourage and implement our academic priorities.”

Macias, who has served in many leadership roles at the University over the past 38 years, joined the Arts & Sciences faculty in 1970 as an assistant professor of chemistry and became a full professor in 1984. In the 1980s, he added administrative roles to his full-time teaching and research, serving as the director of the Summer School program and chair of the Department of Chemistry. In 1988, he was appointed provost, and in 1995 he was named executive vice chancellor and dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences.

His research interests include environmental and nuclear chemistry, focusing on the chemistry and physics of atmospheric particles and the effect of these particles on haze and air pollution. Widely recognized as an academic leader, Macias has been called upon to assist national and governmental institutions, including the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences. He also regularly serves on accreditation and review teams at other universities in the United States and is currently vice-chair of the board for the Center for Research Libraries.

Macias earned a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1966 and a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970. Macias and his wife, Tedi, have been married 40 years. They have two children, Matthew Macias and his wife, Genevieve; and Julia Macias Garcia and her husband, Danny Garcia. They also have three grandchildren, Marcus, Alec and Max.