It is my great pleasure to announce that Dr. Tricia Serio has accepted the role of Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Washington. She will take office on August 1, 2023, pending approval by the Board of Regents. As a first-generation college graduate, Tricia knows first-hand how transformative higher education can be, and she is passionate about promoting equity and access to higher education, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields. I am delighted that Tricia will join our Husky family and look forward to working closely with her to serve the students, families and communities of Washington and beyond.
Tricia comes to the UW from the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she currently serves as the Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, having previously served there as Associate Chancellor for Strategic Academic Planning, and as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences. She is also a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is a highly regarded educator and researcher in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology.
She earned her BS in molecular biology from Lehigh University and her Ph.D. in molecular biochemistry and biophysics at Yale University. She served on the faculty at Brown University and at the University of Arizona before joining the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2017. Her research focuses on the cellular regulation of self-perpetuating protein conformations in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and her scholarship has advanced our 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.
As an academic administrator, Tricia brings an outstanding track record as an advocate for academic excellence, equity and access – values at the heart of our University’s mission. As Provost at UMass Amherst, she launched and led initiatives to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for faculty, staff and students. These 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.
As previously announced, Provost Mark Richards will continue in the Provost role until July 1. I will coordinate the work of the office, in consultation with our excellent academic leadership, in the month between Mark’s departure and Tricia’s arrival. Mark has served with great distinction, and I am personally grateful for his leadership and partnership for the past five years. His work to advance equity, academic excellence and critical infrastructure improvements are deeply valued and will leave a lasting impact.
Between now and August, we will be working on ways to welcome and introduce Tricia to the UW community, and I warmly thank the search committee for their excellent work. Special thanks to our committee chairs Mary Lidstrom and Ed Taylor and thank you to everyone – students, faculty, staff and volunteers – who participated in this search process that is so important to our academic community.