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Spina appointed vice chancellor and provost at Syracuse University
Spina appointed vice chancellor and provost at Syracuse UniversityJanuary 18, 2007Kevin C. Quinnkcquinn@syr.edu
Eric F. Spina has been appointed Syracuse University’s vice chancellor and provost by Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor, following the recommendation by the Vice Chancellor Search Committee that he be named to the post. Spina has been serving as the University’s interim vice chancellor and provost since July 2006.
A member of the SU community since 1988, Spina most recently served as the Douglas D. Danforth Dean of the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) until his appointment as interim vice chancellor and provost.
“I am honored to be named vice chancellor and provost and excited to be assuming a leadership position during such an exciting time at Syracuse University,” Spina says. “Our University’s vision of Scholarship in Action is advancing the quality of our academic and research programs by encouraging students and faculty to interact and collaborate across disciplines. As a result, across our campus there are new opportunities to learn, discover and create in ways that are fueling innovation and discovery. I look forward to working with faculty, students and staff to strengthen this critical focus and continue to build on the momentum that we have created as an institution.”
Spina, who is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, served as dean of ECS beginning in December 2003 and was the college’s associate dean from 2000-03. In 2004, he was the first academic dean at the University named to the Chancellor’s Cabinet.
“I am proud to appoint Eric Spina as vice chancellor and provost. In the short time he has served as interim provost, Eric has provided stellar leadership and has been a strong advocate for the University’s academic mission,” says Cantor. “People from across campus and in the community know, respect and admire Eric — and that was strongly affirmed during the search process. I am confident that he will be an outstanding leader and collaborator for Syracuse University in areas of great academic significance in the years to come.”
Cantor adds: “I also want to thank Ian MacInnes, chair of the search committee, and each of the members; the University Senate; Bruce Carter, chair of the Senate Agenda Committee; and everyone across the campus and in the community who participated in the search process for their time, effort and advice during this process.”
In accordance with Senate bylaws, last fall a search for the position was organized by the Senate Agenda Committee, which included the chair of the Senate Committee on Academic Affairs. A slate of potential members of the search committee was presented to and ratified by the Senate and appointed by the Chancellor.
The search committee conducted its work throughout last fall and recently recommended to Cantor that Spina be appointed to the post.
“The committee conducted a rigorous search and vetting process over a two-month period,” says Ian MacInnes, chair of the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Search Committee. “The 13 members of the committee were all impressed with Dr. Spina, who had strong support from every major constituency of the University. SU is fortunate to have such a talented, empathetic, receptive and hard-working leader in this position. We believe that Dr. Spina will be effective in enhancing areas such as collaboration, sponsored research and diversity, and supporting the University’s overall vision of Scholarship in Action.”
MacInnes noted that an outline of the process the search committee undertook is available at:http://provost.syr.edu/provost_search_procedures.asp.
Immediately following his appointment as interim provost in July 2006, Spina began reaching out across campus to create new collaborative relationships and synergies, which are allowing the University to more dynamically and efficiently advance its academic mission of Scholarship in Action.
For example, he formed a new collaborative partnership with Louis G. Marcoccia, SU executive vice president and chief financial officer, to jointly oversee three key areas: Budget and Planning, Contract (Research) Accounting, and Design and Construction.
An immediate product of this new relationship, Spina and Marcoccia initiated an external review to ensure that sponsored program support — from proposal development to grants administration to sponsored accounting — is highly efficient, faculty/researcher-friendly, consistent with accounting/governmental guidelines, and seamlessly integrated.
He has also reached out to other institutions — both academic and non-academic — to build new partnerships across the region, including the expansion of the University’s collaborative relationships with its neighbors: the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) and SUNY Upstate Medical University.
Spina also recently spearheaded a proposal — the “Syracuse Campus-Community Entrepreneurship Initiative” — that was made to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The proposal was a success, resulting in a five-year, $3-million grant that will allow SU, along with a collaborative team of academic and community partners, to take the next major step in advancing the vision of Scholarship in Action throughout the Central New York region. Partners include Cayuga Community College; Le Moyne College; Morrisville State College; Onondaga Community College; SUNY ESF; the CNY Community Foundation; The Gifford Foundation; the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce; Messenger Associates Inc.; and National Grid.
Spina has a wide array of academic and administrative experience and expertise, which positions him well to serve as vice chancellor and provost.
As dean of ECS, Spina focused on the development and implementation of a vision that draws on the strong research traditions of the college and the tremendous breadth of the University to prepare graduates who will be innovators in a complex world. He also worked to dramatically advance the college’s development and alumni relations activities and to continue the growth of sponsored research activity in ECS.
Spina also played a key early role in the development and implementation of SU and New York State’s initiatives in indoor environmental quality and environmental quality systems, efforts that are the foundation for federal and state research and technology transfer funding of tens of millions of dollars. He served as deputy director of the Environmental Quality Systems Center (a New York State Strategically Targeted Academic Research Center) at SU and is currently a board member of the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems.
Spina has been honored as a recipient of the Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation for Outstanding Contributions to the University’s Academic Programs, one of the University’s highest honors, and the 40 under 40 Leadership Award by the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Greater Syracuse. He is a member of the boards of directors of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST). Additionally, Spina has received several department, college and University teaching awards.
A native of Buffalo, Spina received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University. He and his wife, Karen, reside in Fayetteville with their two daughters.
Spina’s appointment to the post is immediate.