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Zukoski Named Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Charles F. Zukoski has been named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University at Buffalo, following an international search launched in September.

A member of the National Academy of Engineering, Zukoski is an internationally recognized scholar in chemical engineering. He joined UB in July 2012.

Zukoski comes to UB from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is the Elio Eliakim Tarika Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. During his 17-year administrative career at Illinois he served in several key leadership positions—including a six-year tenure as vice chancellor for research. In addition he served from 2006-12 as chairman of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, and he continues to serve as a senior fellow of the agency.

“Charles Zukoski is a stellar addition to our senior leadership team and to our academic community as a whole,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “A first-rate provost needs to shine as an administrator, as a scholar, as a community leader, as a colleague and as an intellectual visionary. Charles excels in all these facets. He has a tremendous creative energy, a richly informed worldview and a genuine passion for public higher education.

“His enthusiasm about UB is plain to see, and he already has very exciting ideas about how to harness our university’s great academic strengths and take them to the next level. I am tremendously excited to welcome him aboard, and I’m eager to begin working with him to further advance our university’s ambitious vision of excellence.”

As provost and the university’s second ranking officer, Zukoski will be a key partner with Tripathi in building on progress already under way to transform UB into one of the nation’s premier public research universities.

As the university’s chief academic and budget officer, Zukoski will be responsible for leading the development and implementation of the university’s academic vision and providing leadership across the university through the articulation and support of UB’s academic priorities. These priorities include advancing the university’s excellence in undergraduate, graduate and professional education; supporting faculty endeavors in teaching, research and public service; enhancing intellectual, geographic and cultural diversity of faculty and students; fostering trans-disciplinary innovation in research, scholarship and creative activities; and strengthening UB’s global leadership in research and education.

“I am tremendously excited to be joining UB and the Buffalo community,” Zukoski said. “President Tripathi and the university community have created an innovative strategic vision that will strengthen UB as a great global institution where students come to learn from the world’s most eminent scholars, and enhance the university’s role as a catalyst to the revitalization of Buffalo and Western New York. Working with UB faculty, staff and students presents a fabulous opportunity to engage in solving the problems of our time. Together, we can deliver solutions that benefit the region, state and nation and which are recognized around the world for their innovation and impact.

“UB is a university on the brink of true greatness, and I am deeply gratified to have this opportunity to make a difference in achieving that vision.”

Anne Curtis, Charles and Mary Bauer professor and chair of the Department of Medicine and co-chair of the provost search committee, said, “Charles Zukoski is a scholar’s scholar—he is highly attuned to the concerns and interests of faculty at a major research-intensive university, as well as being deeply invested in enhancing the quality of student education at every level, from the undergraduate classroom through graduate, professional and postgraduate training.”

Search committee co-chair David Felder, SUNY Distinguished Professor and holder of the Birge-Cary Chair in the Department of Music, added, “Equally important, Charles Zukoski is a collaborator and a colleague of the highest order—one who is sensitive and responsive to issues across the humanities, social sciences, arts, sciences and professions, and one who is committed to promoting dialogue and partnership across the disciplines and beyond campus borders.”

Tripathi noted that Zukoski’s extensive expertise in global research and education enterprises are also highly relevant to UB, which has the largest international enrollment of any comprehensive public university in the nation, and a wide array of international education, academic exchange and study abroad programs. As chair of the Science and Engineering Council (SERC) of A*STAR from 2006-12, Zukoski oversaw planning and direction for seven research institutes, which collectively have a total budget of $500 million per year and play a significant role in the implementation of Singapore’s development strategies. Among his accomplishments, Zukoski helped to develop and implement a major strategic plan for fostering technology-sensitive industries in Singapore through the creation of integrated, multidisciplinary research partnerships.

As vice chancellor for research at Illinois from 2002-08, Zukoski led major changes in technology commercialization and economic engagement activities. He oversaw the establishment of the Office of International Research, which built strong partnerships between the university and institutions in Singapore, India and Cyprus. Zukoski also established three multidisciplinary research institutes: the Institute of Genomic Biology, the Institute of Advanced Computing and Technology and the Institute of Natural Resources Sustainability (now the Prairie Research Institute). He played leadership roles in the establishment and funding of the Illinois Center for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and in the building of the Energy Biosciences Institute, a $500 million, 10-year collaboration between the University of Illinois, the University of California-Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and energy company BP.

As former head of the department of chemical engineering at Illinois from 1994 to 2002, he spearheaded its renaming as the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering—an effort that spurred a global-scale renaming process that has succeeded in establishing biomolecular engineering as a core component of the chemical engineering discipline. As department head, his accomplishments include the creation of a joint master’s program with the National University of Singapore, the establishment of a branch of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, and the funding of a number of faculty and post-doctoral endowments.

Zukoski has been named one of the Hundred Chemical Engineers of the Modern Era by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. His research, which investigates suspension mechanics, protein crystallization and nanoparticle self-assembly, has been continually funded since 1985.

Zukoski holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Reed College and a PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton University.

He is married to Barbara Morgan, who is involved with her family’s business, David Morgan. They have two sons: Andrew, who is working in the Bay Area, and Nicholas, a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon. The whole family is enthusiastic about this move to the Buffalo area, Zukoski said.