UW News

May 17, 2023

Tricia Serio named provost at the University of Washington

UW News

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce today named Tricia Serio Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. Pending approval by the Board of Regents, the appointment is effective Aug. 1.

A first-generation college graduate, Serio is Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Serio is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, and previously served at UMass Amherst as Associate Chancellor for Strategic Academic Planning and Dean of the College of Natural Sciences. She has also held research and professorial positions at the University of Arizona (2012-2017), Brown University (2002-2012) and Yale University (2001-2002).

Tricia Serio

Tricia Serio

“I’m delighted to welcome Tricia to the University of Washington and look forward to working closely with her to advance access and opportunities for students, both inside and outside the classroom,” Cauce said. “Her outstanding record as an educator, researcher and leader make her the ideal person to help drive our mission of creating and accelerating discovery, learning and service for the public good.”

Serio succeeds Mark Richards, who has held the role at the UW since July 2018 and is stepping down this summer. Richards, a geophysicist, will retain his position as a professor of Earth and space sciences in the UW’s College of the Environment and plans to continue his research and teaching. Serio’s appointment culminates a national search that began in November. A 17-member search committee including administrators, faculty and student representatives recommended three finalists for campus visits, presentations and Q&A sessions that took place last month.

Pending Regents’ approval, Serio will also hold a faculty appointment in the Department of Biochemistry in the UW School of Medicine. Faculty in the department voted to approve the appointment this week.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected as the next Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs,” Serio said. “I have long admired the University of Washington for its focus on excellence, and I am excited to partner with President Cauce and the faculty, staff and students to support the individual and collective aspirations that define its impact in the world.”

Serio launched and led initiatives at UMass Amherst to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for faculty, staff and students, which included direct support for students to improve retention and an equity action plan for faculty with an emphasis on workload. She also established initiatives to promote faculty scholarship and creative activity that focused on sustainability, healthy aging, society and technology, inclusive excellence, data science and mid-career research leaves.

Serio’s research focuses on the cellular regulation of self-perpetuating protein conformations in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and her scholarship has advanced understanding of severe neurodegenerative diseases in mammals and how to reverse them. She has earned numerous recognitions for her research, including being named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellow, a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellow, and a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. She also received the Howard Temin Award from the National Cancer Institute and the Mid-Career Award for Research Excellence from the American Society of Cell Biology, and she is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology at Lehigh University, Serio completed a master’s degree and Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

Serio is married to Jeff Laney, a senior biology lecturer, and has two sons, Jacob and Eli. Jacob will attend Pitzer College as a first-year student this year, while Eli is looking forward to the family’s move to Seattle this summer.