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Back To On Campus Home January 2007 Volume 33, Issue 4 Home


Dr. Steven W. Leslie appointed as provost

Steven W. Leslie portrait Steven W. Leslie portrait

Dr. Steven W. Leslie, dean of the College of Pharmacy for the past eight years, has been appointed executive vice president and provost of The University of Texas at Austin.

Leslie says he sees the new role as an extension of his experience as a scientist, educator, faculty member and dean.

I look forward to working toward making the university the top public university in the country as we build new initiatives and support existing ones in the areas of humanities and arts, education and health science research,” said Leslie.

The appointment by University President William Powers Jr. was effective Jan. 15. Leslie replaces Dr. Sheldon Ekland-Olson, who returned to the Department of Sociology faculty.

“I am extremely pleased to name Steve Leslie as the university’s new chief academic officer,” said Powers. “His background and experience as an educator, researcher and administrator have prepared him well for this important post.

“Dr. Leslie has the highest academic standards and highest aspirations for our university. His work has earned the respect of the leadership of the campus.”

Linda Golden, chair of the Faculty Council and professor of marketing, said she was pleased to learn that Leslie had been appointed new provost.

“He is an excellent selection,” said Golden. “Dean Leslie’s leadership throughout the past decade at the university will serve us well.”

As provost, Leslie will work with academic deans to identify strategic initiatives and support them as their colleges and schools advance.

“A major appeal for me when thinking about the job was that we already have outstanding deans who each have a vision for what it takes to move their colleges and schools forward,” he said.

One of his first priorities, said Leslie, is to complete the process of hiring new deans for the colleges of Liberal Arts, Fine Arts and Pharmacy.

Leslie believes the foundation and substance in any university resides in the faculty. “I remember being asked when I became dean of pharmacy what one thing would I like to be remembered for when I left,” he said.

“My answer was ‘as a strong supporter of the faculty,’ ” he said. “If I get asked this question again with the new position, my answer will be the same.”

Leslie joined the university pharmacy faculty in 1974 and, with the exception of two years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center, he has spent his professional career at the university.

Leslie became dean of the College of Pharmacy in 1998. It has become one of the premier institutions of pharmaceutical education and research in the nation. The college was ranked No. 2 pharmacy school in the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2005.

“I believe again you have to look to faculty — that’s where excellence resides,” he said. “The College of Pharmacy emphasizes excellence and rewards success. I will continue to keep that in mind when making decisions.”

Through the years, Leslie has been entrenched in university-wide interdisciplinary matters.

As an internationally noted researcher in alcoholism and alcohol abuse, Leslie was director of the university’s Institute of Neuroscience from 1986 to 1992. The institute was composed of 45 faculty members from six colleges across the campus.

Leslie believes his background in health sciences is an asset for the provost position as the university moves into opportunities like those offered by the new Dell Pediatric Research Institute. These initiatives, too, will involve various disciplines on campus. There are also partnerships emerging with the university and University of Texas System medical and health science schools.

Leslie also played an important role in the development of a new undergraduate core curriculum and plans to be a strong advocate for enhancing the undergraduate experience.