Case Western Reserve University President Barbara Snyder announced Friday that the Board of Trustees have approved her appointment of William A. "Bud" Baeslack III as Provost and Executive Vice President, effective October 1, 2008. Baeslack comes to Case Western Reserve from The Ohio State University, where he served as dean of the College of Engineering and Executive Dean of the Professional Colleges.
"Bud Baeslack is a proven academic leader who knows how to advance strategic priorities," President Snyder said. "I am thrilled by the opportunity to work with him again and grateful to the search committee for bringing such an outstanding candidate to our university."
Baeslack, a native of greater Cleveland, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Ohio State, and went on to earn a doctorate in materials engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He spent 17 years at Ohio State, serving as a faculty member, department chair, associate dean and interim university vice president of research before becoming dean of engineering at RPI in 1999. He returned to Ohio State in 2004, recruited by a team that included Snyder, then Ohio State's interim provost.
"Ohio State is a special place, but I could not resist the opportunity to partner with Barbara to lead Case Western Reserve," Baeslack said. "I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to execute the ambitious strategic plan the community developed over the past academic year."
A 12-member search committee reviewed dozens of candidates before ultimately recommending Baeslack to President Snyder. The committee, which included eight faculty members, held several community forums last spring to learn the qualities and skills constituents hoped to see in a new provost. Based on that feedback and their own perspective, the group developed a position description that emphasized experience in implementing strategic plans, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and managing budgets responsibly. The committee also sought a candidate with a commitment to transparency, communication and shared governance with faculty.
"In Bud Baeslack, the committee found a leader who met all of our criteria and more," said search committee chair P. Hunter Peckham, a professor of biomedical engineering. "Not only does he have a breadth of experience directly relevant to our university's current needs, but he also possesses the character and compassion that inspires others to perform their best."
As engineering dean at Ohio State, Baeslack led development of a performance plan for the college that resulted in increasing undergraduate enrollment, growth in research support and improved national rankings. At the same time, the College launched an innovative undergraduate engineering initiative, improved diversity among faculty and administrators and created several new interdisciplinary research centers.
Baeslack also participated in the development and implementation of a strategic plan at RPI, in which the school identified key priorities for interdisciplinary research. Baeslack helped recruit nearly 20 new faculty in such areas as Biotechnology, Nanotechnology/Advanced Materials and Information Systems. Over a four-year period the number of women who were tenured or tenure track grew by 70 percent, and the number of Hispanic and African-American tenured or tenure-track faculty also increased significantly.
At both Ohio State and RPI Baeslack was well-known for his success in developing partnerships with industry and government. Honda of America, for example, maintains a robust partnership with engineering at Ohio State that includes funding to promote awareness of engineering among high school students, especially women and underrepresented minorities, as well as scholarships and other programs to support new curricular initiatives.
Baeslack will succeed Interim Provost Jerry Goldberg, Dean of the School of Dental Medicine and a member of the university faculty since 1974. In addition to his regular provost duties, Goldberg last year led the campus community in development of a strategic plan for the university as well as individual plans for its constituent schools.
"We all owe Jerry Goldberg a debt of gratitude," President Snyder said. "His dedicated service has laid important groundwork that Bud will be able to build upon in the years to come."
The executive search firm Spencer Stuart assisted the committee in this process.
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