Tuskegee University president, Gilbert L. Rochon, announced the promotion of Luther S. Williams to the newly established position, provost and executive vice president, effective Dec. 1, 2012. Williams has served with distinction as provost and vice president for academic affairs for the past two years, with additional service as dean of Tuskegee’s graduate school, director of the Ph.D. program in integrative biosciences and faculty representative for athletics. Included among his significant accomplishments is an early warning system and extensive tutoring assistance for at-risk freshmen, which has resulted in major improvement in pass rates for basic courses and consequent student retention.
Williams will retain his provost responsibilities, as the university’s chief academic officer, reporting directly to the president. In his new capacity as executive vice president, Williams will exercise administrative oversight with respect to the holistic integration of enrollment and retention; adequacy of physical facilities; associated development requirements; budget and fiscal affairs; and academic effectiveness.
Dr. Luther S. Williams served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Tuskegee University since Dec. 13, 2010. Williams, who also served as dean of graduate studies and director of the Integrative BioSciences Ph.D. Program, has had a distinguished career that ranges from faculty positions at major American universities to administrative roles in higher educational and government agencies, particularly in science and technology. He also previously served as provost at the University. He will also continue to assist with the National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care.
Williams served as the William T. Kemper Director of Education and Interpretation at the Missouri Botanical Garden prior to coming to Tuskegee University. In 1990, he was appointed assistant director of education and human resources at the National Science Foundation, where he also served as senior science advisor. His other work includes assistant professor of biology at Purdue University, associate professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, associate professor of biology, assistant provost and professor of biology at Purdue University, professor of biology and dean of the Graduate School at Washington University, vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Colorado, president of Atlanta University and special assistant to the director of the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences.
Williams has served as chairman of the White House Biotechnology Science Coordinating Committee and as vice chairman of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology Committee on Education and Human Resources.
Additionally, he has served as vice chairman of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Education and Training and served as chairman of its subcommittee on Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education.
Williams earned his B.A. in biology with distinction from Miles College in Birmingham, Ala., M.S. from Atlanta University in Atlanta, and Ph.D. in microbial physiology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. He has completed postdoctoral work at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Williams is the author of over 70 contributions in published scientific journals and more than 20 articles and reports addressing science, mathematics, engineering and technology education.
Williams was named one of the 50 most important blacks in science research by Spectrum Magazine in 2005 and recipient of the Catalytic Award for Systemic Change by Quality Education of Minorities Inc. in 2006. He served as a member of the National Advisory Council for the National Center for Minority Health Disparity, National Institutes of Health in 2007-2010 and was appointed a member of the Council of Councils, Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health in 2009. He also has received six honorary doctoral degrees.
The chief academic officer is appointed by the President of Tuskegee University and is responsible to him for all curricular, instructional, research, outreach and faculty personnel matters. He will have authority and responsibility for advancing the academic quality and stature of the University. Under the direction of the President and in conjunction with the deans, the provost allocates budgets, faculty positions and instructional resources for all academic areas, including research in the University libraries, outreach, and undergraduate, graduate and summer school programs.