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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Campus

University appoints Diane Chase as senior vice president for academic affairs, UH provost


Diane Chase will take over for interim provost Robert Mcpherson this February, pending final approval from the UH Board of Regents.|Photo courtesy of UH Media Relations

After several months of searching, vetting and interviewing, the University has appointed a new provost to oversee academic affairs at UH. 

Diane Chase, who formerly served as the vice president for academic innovation, student success and strategic initiatives at Claremont Graduate University, will take over for interim provost Robert Mcpherson this February, pending final approval from the UH Board of Regents. 

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Chase lead academic affairs for UH and the UH System and join UH as our new provost,” said UH System Chancellor Renu Khator in a press release. “She brings considerable experience to the position and transformational ideas that will elevate the student experience across the UH System.”

Chase’s appointment comes after the University announced the retirement of Provost Paula Myrick Short last January, who stepped down due to family health issues. 

Though her recent work focused primarily on research and instructing graduate-level students, Chase is a tenured academic with experience across a range of institutions, including the University of Central Florida, where she first became acquainted with Khator, who at the time served as provost for the University of Southern Florida. 

“You’re always going to be watching what your former colleagues are doing,” Chase said. “From the sidelines, I could really see the tremendous impact that [Khator] had on the institution.” 

Her professional connection to Khator aside, Chase said that her interest in the University bloomed when she had the opportunity to further look into UH’s progress and trajectory. 

“I started to look even deeper [at the University], and then I realized that the successes and the possibilities of the University were even greater than I had initially imagined,” Chase said. “I love the size of the University, the complexity of the system and the focus on student success over research as a top priority.” 

These factors, alongside UH’s focus on building relations with the surrounding community, were major considerations in her decision to accept the position, Chase said. 

Chase has also spent a significant portion of her career conducting research in the fields of archaeology and anthropology. Chase said she hopes to apply some of the lessons she learned as a researcher to her new role as provost. 

“Conducting this type of research requires you to deal with other cultures, other governments, other people,” Chase said. “You have to bring in your own food, your own facilities, everything you need to manage the operation. While I wouldn’t say that qualifies as automatic provost training, I do believe those experiences have been incredibly valuable.” 

Additionally, her research offered her the opportunity to build relationships with students from a ground level, Chase said. The more relaxed, if not informal, context of working in the field afforded her a personal perspective on student success not often found in a classroom setting.

Ultimately, it is the sum of all these experiences, from research to institutional management, that has provided Chase with the skills necessary to serve as UH provost.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the University of Houston student body and learning more about their stories,” Chase said. 

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