Carnegie Mellon University


James H. Garrett Jr.

Provost and Chief Academic Officer

James H. Garrett Jr. was named provost and chief academic officer of Carnegie Mellon University in January 2019 and was appointed for a second term in January 2024. A member of the faculty since 1990, Garrett previously served as dean of CMU's College of Engineering from 2013 to 2018. Prior to that, he spent six years as head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

As the university's chief academic officer, Garrett is responsible for leading CMU's schools, colleges, institutes and campuses and is instrumental in institutional and academic planning and implementation. In this leadership role, he has partnered with leaders across the university to expand access and affordability efforts to meet the full financial needs of our student body. He has also had a strong focus on student success and experience so that students have the tools and opportunities they need to thrive at CMU and beyond. As provost, Garrett has made investments in supporting the holistic graduate student experience, recruiting and retaining world class faculty, and promoting equitable access to a CMU education via the launch of initiatives such as the Tartan Scholars program, the Rales Fellows program and the Student Academic Success Center. Under Garrett’s leadership, CMU launched its online, graduate-level certificate programs with initial offerings in artificial intelligence, 3D bioprinting and biofabrication, and computational data science. He also chaired the Commission on Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression. Garrett is deeply committed to the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and to fostering an environment where all members of our community have a sense of belonging.

Garrett is Carnegie Mellon plaid through and through, having received his bachelor’s (1982), master’s (1983) and doctoral (1986) degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the institution. He joined the faculty of the college as an assistant professor in 1990 and was promoted to full professor in 1996. Garrett has served in other administrative roles including associate dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs (2000-2006) and acting dean (2004), as well as faculty co-director of the Smart Infrastructure Institute, a research center aimed at developing sensing technology for construction and infrastructure systems. Garrett’s wife, Ruth Ann, and their two children are all alumni of Carnegie Mellon University.

Throughout his research career, Garrett has focused on how sensors and data analytics can make our cities more adaptive and efficient. This approach aims to give built infrastructures the ability to detect and report on problems directly to the humans charged with maintaining those structures, allowing for more proactive and cost-effective infrastructure management. In 2024, Garrett was a guest on CMU’s inaugural podcast, “Where What if Becomes What’s Next,” in an episode dedicated to harnessing AI to strengthen the infrastructure of America's bridges.

Among his many recognitions and awards, Garrett was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2016, awarded the title of Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2018, and elected to the National Academy of Construction in 2020.