MERCED, CA. — Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey today announced the appointment of Keith Alley, Ph.D., as the University of California, Merced’s founding Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies. Alley, who currently serves as the Senior Associate Vice President for Research at The Ohio State University, officially will assume his new position with UC Merced on July 1, 2002.
As the lead campus research officer, Alley 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.
“Keith Alley will bring tremendous experience to the senior leadership team of our developing campus,” said UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. “He has an outstanding record in scholarly research, teaching and academic administration. I am very pleased we will be working with Dr. Alley, whose many talents and vision will contribute significantly to the development of UC Merced’s programs in research and graduate studies.”
Named to his current position with Ohio State’s Office of Research in 2000, Alley’s primary responsibility is working with faculty to facilitate their research programs. He is also responsible for day-to-day budget allocations from the Office of Research and represents the vice president for research in all areas. Since 1985, he also has held faculty appointments in oral biology within the College of Dentistry and in the Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy in the College of Medicine.
Alley has served as the principal investigator on Federal and State grants totaling in excess of $4 million. His laboratory studies neuromuscular development and uses amphibian metamorphosis as a natural model on which to study this phenomenon. Specifically, his research has focused on the plasticity of cranial motor neurons and their associated muscular targets during the transition from aquatic to terrestrial life. He hopes to define the mechanisms that govern sprouting in the motoneuronal pool to accommodate to rapid expansion of muscular targets. As a researcher, Alley has authored numerous scientific articles and abstracts and co-authored the book “Permar’s Oral Embryology and Microscopy,” and has delivered an extensive list of invited scholarly presentations. Also active in graduate advising, he has served on more than 75 masters, doctoral dissertation and doctoral candidacy committees.
At UC Merced, his initial responsibilities will include establishing policies and administrative structure for the offices of research and graduate studies, assisting with faculty recruitment, coordinating development and review of graduate degree programs, and developing services for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Alley will facilitate faculty efforts to obtain grants, coordinate submission proposals, team up with other UC campuses to implement the systems required to handle contracts and grants of UC Merced faculty and represent the campus within the UC system and externally on matters associated with graduate affairs.
Alley will serve as the ongoing liaison with campus research centers, including UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute and World Cultures Institute; support UC Merced’s research relationship with MOU partners Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks; and support UC Merced’s collaboration with UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz through the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITIRIS). Working with founding faculty, he also will explore new research partnership opportunities and directions with other UC campuses and UC-managed laboratories, as well as industry and external research agencies.
“To be involved with the creation of a new research university in the best public system of higher education in the nation is an honor, and an opportunity that is incredibly rare in academia,” Alley said. “This is a defining moment and I am excited to begin working with the campus leadership team to define UC Merced’s signature programs of study and research. My goal is to start on the road to building a research profile equal to those at other UC campuses, with a large premium on the involvement of graduate and undergraduate students in UC Merced campus research.”
He is committed to creating a campus that welcomes diversity and to increasing educational access for the students in the San Joaquin Valley region, which UC Merced has a special mission to serve. “This campus has an opportunity - and an obligation - to help this region’s students receive academic preparation for higher education and to be a leader in the development of a college-going culture in the Valley,” Alley said.
According to Alley, the newness of the campus offers tremendous potential to build a strong, innovative and student-oriented research program, and to develop a university with unique, defining elements. Looking toward the future, Alley said he hopes the campus will become recognized for educating students as independent thinkers and effective researchers, and for its success in providing a high percentage of students with access to valuable lab experiences, internships and scholarships.
At Ohio State, Alley has had extensive involvement in program development at department, college and university levels. He recently coordinated planning for a new $9 million biological micro-electromechanical lab, meshing clean room, cell and molecular biology capacities. He was heavily involved in the development of curriculum and courses for new doctoral programs in oral biology and neurobiology and charged with building a biologically based research department in the College of Dentistry. Past positions to which he was appointed include interim vice president for research, president of the Ohio State Research Foundation, and chair of the Department of Oral Biology and associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Dentistry.
He has a record of continuous involvement in faculty governance, having served on the University Senate, the Research and Graduate Council and a wide variety of planning, review and search panels while at Ohio State. Throughout his career, Alley has also been committed to national and international service. He is a councilor for the American Association for the Advancement of Science; past president of the Neuroscience Group of the International Association for Dental Research; and a former reviewer for National Institute of Health (NIH) site visits and National Science Foundation grants.
Alley received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. in anatomy/neuroscience from the University of Illinois. He also holds a D.D.S. degree from Illinois. Following, he was a postdoctoral fellow in neurobiology at the University of Iowa. He has held two NIH fellowships and was honored with an NIH Research Career Development Award. Beginning in 1974, Alley served on the faculty of the schools of Medicine and Dentistry at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.