LOWELL — The UMass Lowell Chancellor Search Committee has selected three finalists, including one in-house candidate, as possible successors for outgoing Chancellor Jacquie Moloney.
The finalists are UMass Lowell Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Julie Chen, University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Dean Alan Dorsey and Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Dean Paul Tikalsky.
“Our directive from Board of Trustees Chair Robert Manning and President Marty Meehan was to identify leaders with a track record of effectiveness and a commitment to working with the community to strengthen the socio-economic fabric of the region. … The university will need innovative, bold leadership to keep the momentum that has been built over the last decade and a half,” UMass Lowell Search Committee Co-Chairs Mary Burns and Jerry Colella said in a recent message to the UMass Lowell community.
They said they believe they met that challenge, and conducted a “comprehensive and inclusive” search with the assistance of Isaacson Miller. The firm initially communicated with 127 prospective candidates, which led to the committee interviewing eight candidates.
Chen, who was seen as a front-runner to succeed Moloney before the search officially began, has held her current position at the university since 2016, and previously served as vice provost for research. She first joined the UMass Lowell faculty in 1997 following six years teaching at Boston University.
As the university’s chief research officer, Chen directs its nearly $95 million research enterprise, and laid the groundwork for many innovative models of collaboration between academia, industry and government. These include the Fabric Discovery Center, the first and only of its kind in the nation to integrate three Manufacturing USA Institutes; the Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy; and the Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute and HEROES partnership aimed at enhancing the protection of U.S. soldiers.
She is also co-lead of UMass Lowell’s Council on Social Justice and Inclusion, and was involved in efforts to elevate female faculty in STEM disciplines. From 2002 to 2004, she served as the program director for the Materials Processing and Manufacturing and Nanomanufacturing programs at the National Science Foundation.
Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chen holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering, and received the U.S. Army Public Service Commendation Medal “in recognition of her leadership in developing the innovation ecosystem,” according to her bio.
Dorsey has served as dean of what his bio describes as “the University of Georgia’s oldest, largest, and most academically diverse college.” Under his leadership, philanthropic giving to the college has increased significantly, raising $125 million in gifts and commitments and more than doubling its endowment. The college also developed a number of new degree programs in such subjects as organizational psychology, data science, ocean science, film production and cybersecurity, and launched more than 100 online summer courses.
The Fairfax, Va., native holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Cornell University and a doctorate in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A recipient of numerous fellowships and NSF funding, Dorsey has conducted research in theoretical condensed matter physics.
In addition to the University of Georgia, Dorsey has held tenured faculty positions at the University of Virginia and the University of Florida, where he co-founded and co-directed the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, served as associate dean for natural sciences and mathematics and co-founded a program designed to train the next generation of math and science teachers.
Tikalsky has more than 30 years of academic and research leadership, including a decade at Oklahoma State. Under his leadership, the college doubled the number of its engineering graduates, elevated academic standards, increased the diversity of students and faculty and doubled research expenditures, according to his bio.
Engaging multiple partners across public and private sectors, Tikalsky helped to increase higher education funding by more than $125 million over 10 years through the Oklahoma Engineering Initiative, and raised over $250 million to support industry research partnerships, scholarships, academic programs and facilities.
Tikalsky’s research has centered around the integration of material science and technology for sustainable building systems, and helped to reduce greenhouse gasses by millions of tons nationally. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, and his previous roles include chair of Civil & Environmental (Nuclear) Engineering at the University of Utah and deputy director of the Larson Transportation Institute at Penn State University.
Each of the finalists will visit the campus this week to meet with university and community stakeholders.