Interim president-designate Phyllis Wise has named Mary Lidstrom to be interim provost, filling the position Wise will leave when she becomes interim president in the fall. Lidstrom is vice provost for research, a professor of microbiology and chemical engineering and holds the Frank Jungers Chair of Engineering. She has been the vice provost for research since 2005. The appointment was approved by the Board of Regents at its July 15 meeting.
“I am delighted Mary is willing to step into the provost’s position,” said Wise. “She has a great perspective on the major issues the university faces and understands deeply the importance of investing strategically to support excellence in discovery and learning. She’s a highly respected academic and administrative leader, and I look forward to working with her in our new roles.”
Lidstrom has been at the UW twice, first from 1978 to 1985 and again since 1996. She earned her bachelor’s in microbiology from Oregon State University and her master’s and doctorate in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin. She was a Leverhulme postdoctoral fellow in microbiology at the University of Sheffield. She also has held academic appointments with the Center for Great Lakes Studies in Milwaukee and in environmental engineering science at the California Institute of Technology. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Lidstrom has directed or co-directed a number of interdisciplinary programs that couple biology and engineering. She also has implemented an educational initiative that encourages engineering students to pursue careers at the boundary between engineering and biology and oversees the National Human Genome Research Institute-funded Genomics Outreach to Minorities program at UW. In addition, she runs an active research program in applied microbiology.
Lidstrom’s educational innovation earned her the Caltech Associated Students Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993 and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor Award for learning at the life sciences/engineering boundary in 2003. In 2006 she received the American Society for Microbiology Graduate Teaching Award for her long track record in mentoring graduate and postdoctoral students.
As the university’s chief academic and budgetary officer, the provost provides leadership in educational and curriculum development, formulation and allocation of space, long-range strategic planning and management of the university’s research programs. The provost serves as deputy to the president and provides advice and assistance to the president, deans and faculty in these matters.