February 1, 1997
Martha W. Gilliland, an environmental engineer and administrator at the University of Arizona, has been named Tulane's new provost. She will begin her appointment as the university's chief academic officer on June 1, 1997.
"I am truly thrilled," said Gilliland. "I was initially attracted to Tulane because of its balance between undergraduate and quality graduate programs. As I got to know more about Tulane I realized that it is also a major player in its community. I am aligned with the goals that have brought Tulane into national prominence--excellent students, excellent faculty and excellent research enterprise."
Gilliland, who believes it is important to have strong links between the role of faculty, the work of graduate students and the experience of undergraduate students, said she hopes to help strengthen those links and enhance their relevance to the community. "I think institutions of higher education have much to offer the communities in which they exist," said Gilliland. "I would like to consider more emphasis on policy issues at a local level, service learning for students, and both students and faculty engaged in applied research for business and government."
Gilliland, however, emphasized that her first priority is to be a good listener. "These are not initiatives that I would start without lots of dialogue," she said, adding that she expects to spend time on campus to begin that process in the weeks ahead. "My intention is to do a lot of listening this semester, meeting with deans and appropriate groups. It is the people of Tulane who will take Tulane to the next level of excellence."
In fact, Gilliland said she views a free exchange of information between different university constituencies as critical. "The key to success in the context of higher education is to have a foundation of trust from which people are willing to share ideas and risk," she said. During her interviews with the provost search committee and other groups, Gilliland said she sensed a "real feeling of trust among faculty, staff and administrators. If you don't have that then people are afraid to converse and consider change."
In her current position as academic vice president for information and human resources at Arizona, Gilliland is not only responsible for all academic personnel matters, including promotion and tenure, but also staff personnel matters. "Staff have so much to contribute to a university," she said. "I have found staff members to be incredibly talented people. I have a strong track record [at Arizona] of engaging staff on committees and in change initiatives with faculty. I recently had a member of our faculty say to me, 'You know, I had never served on a working committee with staff people before, and it has been fabulous. We ignore a lot of important information by not including them.'"
Gilliland is also responsible for the Center for Computing and Information Technology and the university library and was charged last summer with developing and directing a new human resources organization to support departmental and institutional objectives. A native of Lancaster, Pa., Gilliland has been at Arizona since 1990.
Prior to her current position she served as dean of the Graduate College and vice president for research. A professor in the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, Department of Renewable Natural Resources and Department of Civil Engineering, Gilliland received her PhD in environmental engineering/systems ecology from the University of Florida in 1973.
She has written extensively in her field and is active on policy boards in Washington, D.C., that deal with environmental sciences and engineering. In 1985 she was awarded a National Fellowship from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and has won national awards for her research on water policy. Gilliland began her academic career in 1974 as an assistant professor in the department of civil engineering and environmental sciences at the University of Oklahoma.
In 1977 she left the university to launch and direct Energy Policy Studies Inc., an El Paso firm specializing in energy and environmental technologies. In 1982 she joined the civil engineering faculty as an associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 1985 she became the director for the university's Center for Infrastructure Research.
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