New Leaders Welcomed at UC Merced

MERCED, CA - A new academic and fiscal year means a new start among some of the top leadership positions at the University of California, Merced.

"We are pleased to welcome several new faces to our administrative team for 2006-2007," said Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "Together, they constitute a strong, energetic, knowledgeable and committed group of leaders who will shepherd the continued growth of UC Merced."

Tomlinson-Keasey announced today the following changes.

* Keith E. Alley, who has been vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies at UC Merced since July 2002, will now serve as the executive vice chancellor and provost, replacing David Ashley. (Dr. Ashley left early this summer to fill the president's position at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.) As the executive vice chancellor and provost, Dr. Alley will oversee all academic and student affairs programs at the university, and will act for the chancellor in his/her absence. Dr. Alley's new duties began July 1. The appointment will extend until June 30, 2008, a time frame that will enable a new chancellor to assess the leadership team and recruit a new executive vice chancellor and provost should that be the decision.

Dr. Alley is an effective and seasoned academic administrator who brings extensive knowledge of the campus to the post of executive vice chancellor and provost. In his previous position, Dr. Alley built the research administration infrastructure and led development of the campus's first graduate programs. During the past eight months, he also successfully executed the additional responsibilities of interim vice chancellor for administration.

* Beginning Aug. 15, Mary E. Miller will join UC Merced as vice chancellor for administration. She fills a slot left open when Lindsay Desrochers departed in October 2005. Miller will manage the campus's annual operating budget and be responsible for a division that is the largest provider of services to campus staff and students.

Miller was selected after a national search. She and her husband, Richard E. Miller, will be relocating from Texas A&M University. Having served in key administrative roles at Texas A&M including the position as Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration, she is an experienced leader in higher education administration. She has successfully led several administrative departments at Texas A&M, with responsibility for more than 2,000 employees and annual budgets totaling over $200 million.

* Samuel J. Traina, director of the Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI) at UC Merced since July 2002, has already begun his new position as acting dean of graduate studies and vice chancellor for research, filling the slot left vacant by Dr. Alley's promotion. As the lead campus research officer, Dr. Traina will be responsible for the development and support of research opportunities, initiatives and partnerships. In his dual position as dean of graduate studies, he will oversee graduate degree programs and all issues related to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Dr. Traina will also continue as founding director of SNRI. The SNRI is organized around an earth-systems science model and employs a broad-based approach to research through innovative teams that blend investigators from an array of disciplines. These teams of students and faculty work on local ecological and environmental issues pertinent to sustaining California's agricultural and natural resources. Additionally, the SNRI serves as a nexus for investigators from around the country who wish to pursue research in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains and the San Joaquin Valley.

* Richard E. Miller will join UC Merced as interim associate vice chancellor for research. He will be responsible for working with the university's expanding research office, which has overseen $22.5 million in grant funding since 2002. Dr. Miller, a chemist, will be working with faculty who are currently principal investigators on federal grants, overseeing compliance with myriad federal regulations. In addition, he will assist faculty in securing additional federal funding.

Dr. Miller is currently director of federal compliance and policy administration at Texas A&M System's Texas Engineering Experiment, an agency that oversees $150 million in federal grants. In previous positions at Texas A&M University, he served as director of research services administration, director of the Electron Microscopy Center and associate director of the Office of University Research. His interim position becomes effective Oct. 1. (Dr. Miller is married to Mary E. Miller who is listed above.)

In addition, Professor Hans Björnsson starts his new position Monday, July 17, as interim dean of the UC Merced School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (originally announced April 19, 2006). He replaces founding Dean Kenji Hakuta, who left earlier this summer after three years at UC Merced to return to Stanford University.

The nationwide search to replace Chancellor Tomlinson-Keasey continues. The UC system's 14-member search committee visited the campus in June. Search updates can be found at

UC Merced opened September 5, 2005 as the 10th campus in the University of California system and the first American research university of the 21st century. The campus significantly expands access to the UC system for students throughout the state, with a special mission to increase college-going rates among students in the San Joaquin Valley. It also serves as a major base of advanced research and as a stimulus to economic growth and diversification throughout the region. Situated near Yosemite National Park, the university is expected to grow rapidly, topping out at approximately 25,000 students within 30 years.


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