David Zeh named vice provost for graduate education, dean of Graduate School

Department of Biology chair and past Faculty Senate chair brings research, teaching and administrative experience to new leadership role

3/27/2014 - By: Jane Tors
David Zeh

David Zeh has been named vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. Zeh is currently chair of the University's Department of Biology, one of the University's largest departments with more than 1,300 undergraduate students pursuing degrees in biology and neuroscience. An accomplished researcher, professor and graduate-student advisor, Zeh is also past chair of the University's Faculty Senate.

"With his impressive credentials as a researcher and teacher, and his administratively oriented experience as department chair of Biological Sciences and past chair of the Faculty Senate, David brings a well-rounded combination of skills and experience to this role," Kevin Carman, the University's executive vice president and provost, said. "He also brings great enthusiasm, and a deep appreciation for and understanding of the integral role of graduate-level studies in the university environment."

The Graduate School oversees graduate education across the University, including the broad range of more than 100 master's and doctoral degree programs hosted through the University's colleges, schools and academic divisions. Zeh sees the role of the school as providing "a transformative educational experience that enables students to successfully achieve their career goals, while serving as a catalyst for transforming the state's economy into one that is diversified and knowledge based."

Zeh, who begins his role as vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School April 1, looks forward to creating "a 21st century graduate experience that values and promotes diversity, exploits the power and promise of technology, and prepares the next generation of Nevadans to help re-establish the nation as the world's leading economy, one that values initiative, hard work and personal integrity."

He particularly values the impact and role of multidisciplinary degree programs, which bring together faculty and research expertise across colleges and departments. The University offers several internationally recognized multidisciplinary graduate programs, including an interdisciplinary master's degree in ecology, evolution and conservation biology, in which Zeh and the Department of Biology participate.

"Multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs train students in complex, problem-solving contexts that enable them to pursue productive careers in fields as diverse as business and community development, electrical and biomedical engineering, natural resource management and online journalism," he said. "As a land-grant campus with a diverse mix of academic units and professional schools, the University of Nevada, Reno is uniquely suited to building strength and national competitiveness through collaboration." 

Zeh is a graduate of Long Island University, and received his doctoral degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona in 1986. He was a postdoctoral fellow from 1987 to 1991 at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa in Panama and was a NATO postdoctoral fellow in 1992 in the Department of Genetics at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. He was a biology faculty member at the University of Houston prior to joining the University of Nevada, Reno in 1998. Zeh's research centers on evolutionary biology and molecular genetics.

Zeh takes over the role from Marsha Read, who has served in the dual roles of vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School since 2008. Read, who received the University's 2013 Distinguished Service Award, is retiring in June 2014.


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