Permanent leaders named for Academic Affairs, Research divisions

Categories: Research Tags: Academic Affairs, Research

With widespread support from the campus community, the interim leaders for the divisions of Academic Affairs and Research are now permanent.

Jennifer Troyer has been appointed provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and John Daniels is the vice chancellor for research, following a recommendation from Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber and a unanimous vote by the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. Additionally, Deborah “Deb” Thomas ’95 M.A. has been named by Daniels as the permanent associate vice chancellor for research.

“I have had many conversations with faculty, staff and community partners over the past several months,” Gaber said. “Everyone has been supportive of the stability and vision Jennifer and John have brought to their respective divisions, and there is great appreciation for their collaborative leadership styles. Both of them are deeply rooted in our University community, and they have demonstrated they have the ability to move us forward in achieving our goal of becoming a globally recognized top-tier research institution.”

Thomas was named as associate vice chancellor alongside Daniels in October 2022. Over the past year, according to Daniels, she has earned the respect of her colleagues across the campus.

“Deb has been instrumental in reimagining how our division conducts business, solicits feedback and supports and celebrates our researchers,” said Daniels. “Her creativity and commitment will continue to help guide Charlotte’s research enterprise to new heights.

The permanent appointments of Troyer, Daniels and Thomas are effective Nov. 1.

About Jennifer Troyer

jennifer troyerJennifer Troyer joined UNC Charlotte in 1999, beginning as an assistant professor of economics before being named dean of the Belk College of Business in July 2020.

As dean, Troyer facilitated the creation of a new Belk College strategic plan, successfully oversaw a renewal of accreditation by AACSB, launched the new Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and supported the launch of a new online MBA with tech-focused concentrations and a new interdisciplinary certificate in entrepreneurship while continuing to grow the college’s focus on student success, research excellence, community engagement and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In her 25 years at Charlotte, Troyer has served in various leadership roles. Within the Belk College of Business, she served as interim dean, senior associate dean, associate dean for graduate programs and research and chair of the department of economics. From July 2018 to June 2019, she was the interim dean for the College of Health and Human Services.

A health economist, Troyer has conducted policy-relevant research on the quality of U.S. nursing homes, the cost-effectiveness of medical interventions and strategic behavior in the pharmaceutical industry. Her research has earned several awards and been funded by the National Institutes of Health. As a faculty member, her teaching focused on health economics, econometrics and microeconomics.

A proud first-generation college student, Troyer holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Memphis.

About John Daniels

john danielsA member of the faculty for 23 years, John Daniels previously led the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as chair from 2012-22. He also served as a program director in the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation, where he was responsible for research within geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, engineering education, engineering research centers and a variety of cross-disciplinary programs.

While at UNC Charlotte, Daniels has led numerical, laboratory and field-based projects, totaling more than $8 million, for utilities and consultants as well as state and national agencies. His textbook, co-authored with H.Y. Fang, “Introductory Geotechnical Engineering: An Environmental Perspective,” was released in 2006, and he has more than 100 publications in various journals, book chapters, conference proceedings and technical reports. He has worked for TRC Environmental Corporation as a project engineer and is a licensed professional engineer in North Carolina.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University and a master’s degree and a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. His research is focused on ground improvement, with active awards (>$1M as principal investigator) from NSF and state agencies that support three Ph.D. students and one postdoctoral scholar.

About Deborah “Deb” Thomas

deb thomasDeborah “Deb” Thomas joined UNC Charlotte in 2018 as chair of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences. She previously served the University of Colorado Denver as a faculty member in geography and environmental sciences for 18 years and department chair for three and half years. Additionally, she was a founding faculty member of the Colorado School of Public Health, where she held a secondary faculty appointment for more than 10 years.

Thomas specializes in hazards and health geography. Her interests focus on vulnerability/resilience/equity as they relate to natural and human-induced hazards and global environmental health, commonly emphasizing the role of mapping technologies for assessing and evaluating the intersection of human-physical systems and the built environment.

She has obtained more than $2.3 million in funding from the NSF, National Institutes of Health and numerous local and state agencies. She has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and reports, including the co-edited book “Social Vulnerability to Disasters.” An internationally respected academic, Thomas was a Fulbright Scholar to Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and she continues to work in Tanzania as part of a 16-year partnership with the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte and a Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, all in geography.