Carnegie Mellon University

James Garrett

November 16, 2018

Carnegie Mellon Names James H. Garrett Provost

By Matt Nagel

Jason Maderer
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Carnegie Mellon University has named James H. Garrett, Jr. as the university’s next provost and chief academic officer after a rigorous, comprehensive and international search. Garrett is currently dean of the university’s College of Engineering and the Thomas Lord Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is a three-time alumnus of Carnegie Mellon and will begin his duties as provost starting on Jan. 1, 2019.

Garrett will report directly to President Farnam Jahanian, serving as a key member of his leadership team and with primary responsibility for ensuring academic excellence across the university. As the university's chief academic officer, Garrett will oversee academic activities across CMU's campuses and programs around the world and will be instrumental in long-range institutional and academic planning and implementation.

“Jim is a visionary and collaborative leader and a highly respected scholar with more than three decades of experience in academia,”  Jahanian said. “He will bring unique insights and a strong foundation to this key leadership position and will play a critical role in fostering collaboration across colleges and departments, promoting the interdisciplinary approach that is at the heart of Carnegie Mellon’s culture. I look forward to working with him to lead the university to even higher levels of academic distinction and international recognition.”

As dean, Garrett has leveraged partnerships both regionally and globally to advance research and educational opportunities with a deep commitment to the integration of research and teaching across engineering, science, arts and business. He broadened the impact of campuses in Kigali, Rwanda, and Silicon Valley, California, and through his fundraising efforts has transformed the environment for the College of Engineering and increased the college’s connectivity with the rest of the university. The College of Engineering is currently ranked 6th for both graduate and undergraduate education, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed to serve Carnegie Mellon as its next provost,” Garrett said. “As I begin this new journey, I am committed to working across the entire university and to partner with students, faculty and staff to better understand the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Together, I know we can continue to make an extraordinary difference in the world.”

Garrett was chosen from an international pool of candidates. The search was led by a committee comprised of representatives from each of Carnegie Mellon’s schools and colleges. Richard Scheines, dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Sciences, chaired the search, and Mary Jo Dively, Carnegie Mellon’s vice president and general counsel, served as co-chair. In an effort to best understand what the university needs from a new provost, the committee met with a number of internal stakeholder groups and held several town hall gatherings.

“After an exhaustive six-month search process that involved dozens of highly qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds from across the globe, we are delighted to have found someone who, according to virtually all of the faculty, student, staff, and leadership constituencies we involved in the search, truly stood out,” Scheines said. “Jim’s integrity, sincere enthusiasm for collaboration, success as a leader within Carnegie Mellon, vision for CMU’s future, and devotion to the whole institution all impressed the committee. We are unanimously delighted with the choice and we all look forward to working closely with him.”

“The committee was very impressed with Dean Garrett’s record of support for cross-cutting research and educational collaborations, such as Metro21, CyLab and Science@CMU,” said Roberta Klatzky, the Charles J. Queenan Jr. University Professor of Psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and a member of the search committee. “And his dedication to increasing women and underrepresented minority faculty and students within the College of Engineering is an exemplary model for efforts university-wide.”

Garrett received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in civil engineering from CMU’s College of Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1990 and has served as dean of the college for the past six years.

Previously, Garrett was the head of Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from 2006 - 2012. He served as the College of Engineering’s associate dean for Graduate and Faculty Affairs from 2000 - 2006. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Garrett’s research and teaching interests focus on the use of sensor systems in civil and environmental engineering.

"I have great confidence that Jim understands the challenges and opportunities facing the whole university," said Charlie White, head of CMU’s School of Art and member of the Provost search committee. “He will be a strong partner and advocate for the arts at CMU. Jim is keenly aware of the importance of creative process, the value of cultural activity, and the necessity of experimental practice across the five schools within the College of Fine Arts. Most importantly, he understands the paramount role that the arts will play when envisioning the future of Carnegie Mellon University.”

Laurie R. Weingart, the Richard M. and Margaret S. Cyert Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory at the Tepper School of Business, has served as interim provost since July 2017.

“I am profoundly grateful to Laurie Weingart for her exceptional service as interim provost,” Jahanian said. “Over the past year and a half, Laurie has been an invaluable partner for me and the entire executive management team, advancing academic priorities of the university during a time of extraordinary momentum.”

Weingart, a renowned expert in organizational behavior, will return to the faculty and plans to launch an initiative focused on applied research on collaboration and conflict.

The university will soon appoint an interim dean for the College of Engineering and launch a search for Garrett’s successor in this critical position.