Leadership Searches Launches

Dear Colleagues,

I am excited to inform you that a search firm has been selected and search committees have been named for two open leadership positions at Rice and one new leadership position at the university. The two existing positions are provost and vice president for research, which was previously titled vice provost for research. The new position is vice president for innovation.

As you know, I will be leaving my post as provost in July to become Rice’s eighth university president. Yousif Shamoo stepped down from his role as vice provost for research this month. He is continuing some responsibilities of that role until a replacement has been named. The vice president for innovation will build a technology commercialization ecosystem that will maximize the translation of discoveries and inventions across the entire university into positive societal impact and commercial success.

Isaacson, Miller, one of the country's premier executive search firms, will lead the searches for all three of these positions. The firm has nearly four decades of experience in recruiting senior leaders for some of the top visual and performing arts and cultural organizations, academic medical centers, health care institutions, foundations, pre-K-12 education and education improvement organizations, colleges and universities, social justice advocacy groups, conservation and environment organizations, human services providers and other mission-driven organizations.

The search committees selected to aid Isaacson, Miller in its work are as follows:


  • Chair, Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Malcolm Gillis University Professor; Professor, Bioengineering; Director of Rice 360° Institute for Global Health
  • Anthony Brandt, Professor, Composition and Theory
  • Elaine Howard Ecklund, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences; Professor, Sociology; Director, Graduate Program; Director, Religion and Public Life Program
  • Dawn Finley, Professor of Architecture, Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Architecture
  • Carlos Garcia, Director, Research, Development and Infrastructure
  • Anthony Pinn, Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities; Director, Center for African and African American Studies
  • Ashu Sabharwal, Chair, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Ernest Dell Butcher Professor of Engineering
  • Joff Silberg, Stewart Memorial Professor of BioSciences
  • Meng Yeh, Teaching Professor, Center for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • Mike Yuen ‘89, Board of Trustees
  • Yan “Anthea” Zhang, Fayez Sarofim Vanguard Professor of Management – Strategic Management

Vice President for Research

  • Co-Chair, Edward Knightly, Sheafor-Lindsay Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Professor, Computer Science
  • Co-Chair, Peter Rossky, Harry C. & Olga K. Wiess Professor, Chemistry; Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Pulickel Ajayan, Chair, Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering; Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor of Engineering
  • Caroline Ajo-Franklin, Professor, Biosciences; Scholar in Cancer Research, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
  • Elle Anderson ‘01, Rice Board of Trustees
  • Mauricio Benitez, Assistant Provost
  • Chris Fagundes, Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences
  • Tony Mikos, Louis Calder Professor of Bioengineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Director, Center for Engineering Complex Tissues; Director, Center for Excellence in Tissue Engineering; Director, J.W. Cox Laboratory for Biomedical Engineering
  • Emilia Morosan, Professor, Physics and Astronomy
  • Luay Nakhleh, William and Stephanie Sick Dean, George R. Brown School of Engineering; Professor, Computer Science and BioSciences
  • Kerry Ward, Associate Professor, History

Vice President for Innovation

  • Chair, Naomi Halas, Stanley C. Moore Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Director, Smalley-Curl Institute
  • Pedro J.J. Alvarez, George R. Brown Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Founding Director, Nanosystems Engineering Research Center on Nanotech Treatment
  • Paul Cherukuri ’07, Executive Director, Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering; Adjunct Professor, Management-Entrepreneurship
  • Yael V. Hochberg, Ralph S. O'Connor Professor, Entrepreneurship; Professor, Finance; Head, Rice Entrepreneurship Initiative; Academic Director, Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship John Jaggers '73, Trustee Emeritus, Rice University; Managing General Partner, Sevin Rosen Funds
  • Lydia Kavraki, Noah Harding Professor, Computer Science; Professor, Bioengineering, Computer, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering; Director, Ken Kennedy Institute
  • László Kürti, Professor, Chemistry
  • Sharon Pepper, Executive Director, Rice Educational and Research Initiatives for Collaborative Health Jacob T. Robinson, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Adjunct Associate Professor, Bioengineering; Adjunct Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Jeffrey J. Tabor, Associate Professor, Bioengineering and Biosciences
  • James M. Tour, T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor, Chemistry; Professor, Computer Science, Materials Science, Nanoengineering; Director, NanoCarbon Center

Detailed job descriptions and where to submit nominations will be made available soon. In the meantime, if you have questions or know someone who might be a good fit for these positions, please reach out to the heads of the search committees.


Reginald DesRoches, Howard Hughes Provost