January 3, 2023

Purdue appoints senior vice president, vice provosts and interim agriculture dean

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind – Purdue University President Mung Chiang on Tuesday (Jan. 3) announced a new reporting structure for the senior vice president for Purdue University Online and its leadership update. At the same time, Provost Patrick Wolfe has appointed two new vice provosts and an interim dean of the College of Agriculture in the first major steps designed to shape his leadership team in guiding the academic affairs of Purdue.

The senior vice president for Purdue University Online will now report directly to the president, Chiang announced, with a dotted line to the provost. Gary Bertoline, who was appointed in April 2021 to the position, will continue to serve in the role through June 30, 2023, at which time he will take a prescheduled research leave to become the principal investigator for a major Purdue project funded by the National Science Foundation. Dimitri Peroulis, currently head of Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will succeed Bertoline on July 1 as senior vice president for Purdue University Online.

Chiang thanked Bertoline for his outstanding leadership during two critical years of rapid growth in online education at Purdue. In guiding Purdue University Online since May 2021, Bertoline has strengthened ties with the university’s academic colleges, working closely with Purdue Global and the Office of Industry Partnerships to increase online offerings to businesses and industry. In addition, Bertoline has streamlined processes to improve efficiencies and cost savings, bolstered marketing and recruitment, and successfully created a work environment that has allowed Purdue University Online to recruit nationally where many staff work remotely while growing the number of online offerings and revenue. 

In leading Purdue University Online, Bertoline has implemented two signature initiatives, one of which has been recognized as “Best-in-Class” in online education, and to create a culture known as a “Great Place to Work” for its dedicated and talented staff. In stepping away from Purdue University Online this summer, Bertoline will take a research leave to become the principal investigator on an NSF-funded grant, in collaboration with the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Academy of Engineering. The nationwide initiative will focus on developing a student-centered curriculum framework for an innovative, adaptive, diverse and inclusive engineering and engineering technology education relevant for the 21st century. 

Since May 2019, Peroulis has served as the Michael and Katherine Birck Head of and the Reilly Professor in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He also has been the College of Engineering’s academic lead for online learning since January 2018. Under Peroulis’ leadership, Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering has become the nation’s largest program with 120 faculty members and 3,300 students, while achieving its strongest combined undergraduate, graduate and online rankings. Peroulis recruited 25 tenure-track/tenured faculty members and grew extramural research expenditures by 31% to a record $54 million. In addition, he led the launch of six new online graduate programs for the college, numerous credentials and increased online enrollment by nearly 2.5 times. Currently, Purdue’s online master's programs in electrical, mechanical and industrial engineering, as well as engineering management, are ranked No. 1, while civil engineering is No. 2 in the U.S.  

Provost Wolfe announced that, effective Jan. 9, Purdue’s newest vice provosts are:

  • Robert Frosch, who becomes vice provost for academic facilities, a newly created position. In the position, Frosch will work closely with all academic units and the Office of Administrative Operations to advance facilities for faculty and student success. Frosch joined Purdue in 1997 as an assistant professor of civil engineering. Since then, he has served in several leadership roles, most recently as senior associate dean of facilities and operations in the College of Engineering and executive director of strategic initiatives in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. His work has resulted in a master plan for engineering’s facilities, major renovation of numerous buildings and several new buildings on campus including the Flex Lab, the Bechtel Innovation Design Center and the new Dudley Hall and Lambertus Hall. His research, which focuses on the design and behavior of structural concrete, has resulted in changes to engineering practice and the building codes for both buildings and bridges. He is the recipient of the ACI Building Code Distinguished Service Award, the Concrete Research Council Arthur Boase Award and the ACI Joe Kelly Award. 
  • David Umulis, who will serve as senior vice provost for Purdue University in Indianapolis while continuing as acting head and professor in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. In his role as the Dane A. Miller Head, Umulis has led the Weldon School to advance discovery and translation in biomedical imaging, neuroengineering, instrumentation, computational biomedicine and engineered biomaterials. Umulis is also the director of the NSF-funded EMBRIO Institute. EMBRIO is using engineering, imaging, artificial intelligence and organismal biology to uncover mechanisms of wound healing and cellular defense. Additionally, Umulis is a member of the Purdue Teaching Academy, and he has received 2011 Richard L. Kohls Early Career Award and the 2021 Henry T. Yang Award for Leadership in Service.

Additionally, Purdue agricultural economics professor Ken Foster has been named interim dean of the College of Agriculture, beginning Jan. 9. He succeeds Karen Plaut, who will be Purdue’s new executive vice president for research. Foster, a longtime Purdue agricultural economics professor and former head of the Purdue Agricultural Economics Department, specializes in value-added market research and is heavily involved in helping small-scale farmers in Colombia and other developing countries. Foster served as Purdue’s associate head and graduate program director at Purdue from 2004-08 before his appointment as department head in 2009. He has been recognized by the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association for Distinguished Graduate, twice as a member of teams that received AAEA’s Group Extension Award, as Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor in the college, and the Purdue Agriculture Team Award on three different occasions. A national search for the next dean of agriculture will commence in January with a search advisory committee to be named soon.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Media contact: Tim Doty, doty2@purdue.edu

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