Zukoski to leave UI for provost position at Buffalo
Charles "Chip" Zukoski, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor, will leave the University of Illinois later this year to become provost at the University of Buffalo in New York.
The University of Buffalo made the announcement on Friday. Zukoski will be provost and executive vice president for academic affairs there beginning this summer.
Zukoski has been on the Urbana campus since 1985 and is the Elio Eliakim Tarika Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He also is a former vice chancellor for research.
Zukoski said Monday that he was attracted to the new job because of the possibility of working with people interested in solving "the big problems in higher education and big problems in the local economy" of Buffalo and western New York.
"What's interesting about Buffalo is, it's a community undergoing a lot of change. If you look at the economy of Buffalo, it's been beat up on for some time. There's a growing consensus to use the university to build a strong town-and-university bond in order to change the economic situation there," he said.
A chemical engineering researcher, Zukoski is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He also previously served as department head and vice chancellor for research before going to Singapore and serving as chairman of the the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research in Singapore.
"Charles Zukoski is a stellar addition to our senior leadership team and to our academic community as a whole," said University of Buffalo President Satish Tripathi in a release. "A first-rate provost needs to shine as an administrator, as a scholar, as a community leader, as a colleague and as an intellectual visionary. Charles excels in all these facets. He has a tremendous creative energy, a richly informed worldview and a genuine passion for public higher education," he said.
As provost, Zukoski will be second-in-command at the University of Buffalo working in budget and academic affairs.
Zukoski received his bachelor's degree in physics from Reed College and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University. His research involves suspension mechanics, protein crystallization and nanoparticle self-assembly.
He said he did not seek employment elsewhere because of the administrative upheaval at the university in recent months (and applied for the job prior to UI chief of staff Lisa Troyer resigning), but Zukosksi, who was one of the chaired professors who called for UI President Michael Hogan to resign, said he has been in the process of deciding whether he wanted to focus on research and teaching or move into administration.
"Becoming a provost is a very different career path. I was attracted by the opportunity to work with a talented team to address critical issues in higher education," he said.
He and his wife, Barbara Morgan, have two grown children.
"Champaign-Urbana has been fabulous," he said. "It's enormously difficult for us to leave. We have deep roots here. It was not without a great deal of sadness that we made this decision," he said.