Campus Leader Headed Development of First Academic Programs,
Hiring of Founding Faculty
MERCED - David B. Ashley, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor
and provost at the University of California, Merced, has accepted
the position of president at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
officials announced today (Thursday, May 18). As UC Merced’s top
academic officer for the past five years, Ashley has played a
central role in the development of the university’s inaugural
academic programs, spearheaded the hiring of the 55 founding
faculty members, created research opportunities and helped to
organize strategic planning efforts. He will assume the position of
president at UNLV on July 1.
UNLV is a doctoral-degree granting institution with more than
28,000 students and approximately 3,000 faculty and staff. More
than 220 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees are offered.
Founded in 1957, UNLV is located on more than 350 acres in Southern
Nevada. The university is classified in the category of Research
Universities (high research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation
for the Advancement of Teaching.
“David has been a tremendous asset to UC Merced and played a
pivotal role in developing academic programs and recruiting
world-class faculty,” said UC Merced Chancellor Carol
Tomlinson-Keasey. “His leadership has been instrumental in building
the first University of California campus to open in 40 years,
which is no everyday feat. UNLV will benefit greatly from David’s
leadership. We wish him well.”
During Ashley’s tenure as executive vice chancellor and
provost, UC Merced has begun from a blank slate and officially
offered its first 14 undergraduate and five graduate degree
programs (which may be applied toward master’s or doctoral
degrees). More programs are in development, with four to five to be
added each year. UC Merced’s undergraduate and graduate academic
programs are designed to promote interdisciplinary teaching and research.
This period also saw the hiring of UC Merced’s 55 founding
faculty members, plus several more who will assume faculty
positions this summer, from across the country and around the
world. The faculty reflects commitments from UC Merced and Ashley
to diversity, with gender and Hispanic diversity leading the way -
an important factor considering UC Merced’s location in the Central
Valley of California where a large proportion of the population
claims Hispanic heritage.
Supporting those programs and faculty, UC Merced under
Ashley’s leadership has developed a philosophy of core equipment
and instrumentation facilities. This encourages collaborations
among faculty from different disciplines with similar research
interests, as they work together in efficient, common and adjacent
laboratories. Core labs will serve research interests in genomics,
imaging and microscopy, environmental analysis and other fields.
“The opportunity at UNLV matches my interests and abilities
especially well,” said Ashley. “UNLV has identified goals to
enhance its already-solid academic reputation in the next several
years, and I look forward to helping bring in the necessary
resources to meet those goals and continuing to move the campus
toward even greater academic excellence.”
“I have been delighted and honored to be one of the founders
of UC Merced. It has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” he
continued. “I am particularly happy with the quality of the
academic programs we have developed and the hiring of truly stellar
faculty who sustain high quality research programs while also
demonstrating exceptional care and concern for our students.”
Ashley came to UC Merced in 2001 after serving as dean of the
College of Engineering at The Ohio State University for four years.
As a professor of civil engineering, he has more than three decades
of professional experience studying project risk analysis and
management in the construction industry. He has also held faculty
positions at UC Berkeley, the University of Texas, Austin and MIT.