Christopher Keane to step down as vice president for research

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Vice President Christopher Keane, whose leadership since 2014 has helped define and realize innovative and entrepreneurial research opportunities for WSU, has announced he will step down as the vice president for research. He will return to his faculty position as a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the beginning of the 2025 calendar year. Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Keane will assume a one-year position as senior advisor to the WSU system provost.

Regents Professor Michael Wolcott will assume the role of interim vice president for research on Jan. 1, 2024, and will partner closely with Keane over the coming months to ensure a successful transition.

“President Schulz and I are grateful for Dr. Keane’s strong leadership over the last decade,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton. “Dr. Keane has been instrumental in identifying WSU’s areas of research excellence, building new partnerships and research opportunities, and supporting our faculty members as they pursue basic, applied, and engaged scholarship addressing state, national, and global challenges.”

Keane will continue to help advance research opportunities in his new role.

“It’s been a great honor to serve as WSU’s vice president and vice chancellor for research,” Keane said. “I’ve enjoyed working with WSU’s outstanding faculty, staff, and students to develop new ideas, collaborations, and advance research, scholarship, and creative activity at WSU. I look forward to advancing specific research opportunities in my new position and supporting Professor Wolcott during the transition.”

Wolcott, who holds a Ph.D. in materials engineering science, joined WSU in 1996 as an associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. In 2016, Wolcott was named the director of ASCENT, a cooperative aviation research organization co-led by WSU and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2017, he also took on the role of associate vice president for research and director of the Office of National Laboratory Partnerships at WSU.

“Dr. Wolcott is an innovative leader, researcher, instructor, and mentor,” said Chilton. “He has deep knowledge of WSU’s research enterprise, and I look forward to working with him over the coming year to continue to advance our research mission.”

The Office of the Provost will launch a national search for a permanent vice president for research in early January, with the intent of having the position filled by the end of 2024.

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