North Texas Daily

Administration changes to come after retirement, promotions announced

Administration changes to come after retirement, promotions announced

Administration changes to come after retirement, promotions announced
January 27
13:30 2022

The University of North Texas announced upcoming administration changes as some staff members plan to leave or take on a new role within the institution once the semester ends.

This includes the retirement of Mark McLellan, the vice president of Research and Innovation. McLellan will retire in June, according to a Jan. 11 communication from President Neal Smatresk.

“I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly,” McLellan said. “I have my fingers crossed that many of the things we’re putting in place will have a big impact for the future.”

McLellan joined UNT staff in 2019 after four decades working in higher education across the country, including at Cornell University, Utah State University, Texas A&M University, University of Florida and Portland State University.

The three accomplishments at UNT that McLellan said he is most proud of are implementing a training program to help faculty with writing applications for grants, the DC Faculty Fellows program and the creation of the Grant Managers Program to help balance the workload of research projects.

“I believe we’ve just begun, but I bet five years from now, 10 years from now, people will look back and they’ll say that changed this university,” McLellan said. “And what better compliment than to believe that you had a little bit of impact on making a difference for the university?”

Once he is officially retired, McLellan plans to fulfill a promise to his wife to “walk the beaches” together.

College of Science Dean Pamela Padilla has been chosen as McLellan’s successor and will take over as vice president of Research and Innovation on June 5.

I feel very honored because I was asked to consider the VPRI position,” Padilla said. “I am very committed to the research enterprise at UNT.”

Before becoming the COS dean, Padilla worked as the college’s associate dean of research and graduate studies and as associate vice president of Research and Innovation.

“I have been deeply involved with research and grants all of my career at UNT, so it is somewhat a natural fit for me,” Padilla said. “Even though it is a pretty hard job, I also see it as very fun and fulfilling and I look forward to working with President Smatresk.”

While she will still be working as the COS dean for the remainder of the semester, Padilla already has plans for her new role.

“I especially want to seek opportunities that help the student researchers and expand the research enterprise at UNT,” Padilla said. “I will address what the division can do to help garner opportunities as a Hispanic Serving Institute.”

Vice President of Research Aaron Roberts believes Padilla will continue McLellan’s work to raise the UNT’s research successes.

“Dr. Padilla is the former AVPR and a successful [principal investigator] in her own research which gives her great perspective,” Roberts said.  “I’ve had the opportunity to work with her over the years and I know she’ll be successful in continuing to raise UNT’s research profile with her own additions to our programs.”

Another faculty member leaving UNT after the semester ends is UNT Provost Jennifer Evans-Cowley, who was named as the sole candidate for the University of Texas at Arlington presidency. Because the decision cannot be finalized until after a mandatory 21-day waiting period, Evans-Cowley could not comment on the announcement.

“While I will miss Provost Cowley and her thoughtful leadership, I am excited for her new journey as the next President at UTA,” Vice Provost Holly Hutchins said. “Provost Cowley has advanced UNT student and faculty success outcomes and we are better off because of her leadership.”

Since joining UNT faculty as provost in 2017, states, Evans-Cowley helped “solidify [UNT’s] role as a Tier One research university,” according to a campus-wide email sent by Smatresk on Jan. 10. Evans-Cowley will finish the spring semester before her transition to UTA.

As of Jan. 25, replacements for Evans-Cowley and Padilla’s positions have not been announced.

Featured image: The Hurley Administration Building on Jan. 24, 2022. Photo by Lindy Jenkins.

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Alex Reece

Alex Reece

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