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University of Virginia academic leader named Executive Vice Chancellor at the UT System

Chancellor James B. Milliken announced today that Archie L. Holmes Jr., Ph.D., vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Virginia, will be the next executive vice chancellor of academic affairs at The University of Texas System.

Archie L. Holmes Jr., Ph.D.

The appointment will be a homecoming for Holmes, who grew up in Texas, received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from UT Austin and was a faculty member in the Cockrell School of Engineering for a decade before joining the University of Virginia, one of the leading public universities in the country.    

Since earning graduate degrees at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Holmes has established himself as a lauded educator, researcher and administrative leader who has led initiatives to advance students’ educational experiences and recruit a rich and diverse distinguished academic community.

“I am delighted that Dr. Archie Holmes will be returning to Texas, bringing extensive administrative experience and a passion for educational opportunity,” Milliken said. “He is a proven higher education leader who has been deeply immersed in areas important to all UT academic institutions, including student scholarship, access and success, online learning and innovation in curriculum, student life, and diversity and inclusion. Dr. Holmes is widely recognized for his collaborative and entrepreneurial style of working with students, faculty and administrative colleagues.”

As executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, Holmes will work closely with the presidents and the academic leadership of the eight UT academic institutions to help them achieve their strategic goals to advance their institutions. He also will hold a tenured professorship in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT Austin.

“I am humbled and honored that Chancellor Milliken and the Board of Regents have selected me for this important role,” Holmes said. “I look forward to returning to Texas and working with the excellent leadership teams at the System offices and the eight academic institutions to advance efforts in education, research, student success and community service for the benefit of Texas, our nation and the world.”

Holmes was appointed following a broad national search and was unanimously recommended by a search committee chaired by Chancellor Milliken and including Regents Vice Chairman Rad Weaver, Regents Steve Hicks and Nolan Perez, UT Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey, UT El Paso President Heather Wilson, UT Dallas Provost Inga Musselman and UT Austin Cockrell School of Engineering Dean Sharon Wood.

“The search committee was pleased to recommend Dr. Holmes from a very impressive slate of national candidates. We were especially drawn to his depth of knowledge and presentation of ideas that were mission-aligned with the aspirations of UT institutions,” said Weaver, who also serves as the chairman of the Regents’ Academic Affairs Committee. “Everyone with whom we spoke about Dr. Holmes expressed great confidence in his ability to lead the system’s Office of Academic Affairs.”

While at UT Austin, Holmes was an assistant and then associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and served on the Faculty Council and as both an undergraduate and faculty advisor.

Since 2007, he has served as a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia. Prior to being named vice provost for academic affairs in 2016, he served as vice provost for educational innovation and interdisciplinary studies and associate provost. Among his many accomplishments there, he led efforts to better integrate academic advising, career advising and personal development; provide opportunities for students to enhance their education via experiential learning opportunities; and enhance diversity and equity programs, including working with the university’s schools on strategic diversity plans.

At both UT Austin and the University of Virginia, Holmes led or served on numerous committees and task forces related to academic advising, curriculum reform, and student and faculty recruiting.

Holmes also has received numerous awards for his teaching and advising activities. At UT Austin, he received the Texas Excellence Teaching Award in Engineering and the Gordon T. Lepley IV Endowed Memorial Teaching Award. At the University of Virginia, Holmes was an inaugural member of the University Academy of Teaching and received a Hartfield–Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize in 2012. Holmes also received an Outstanding New Advisor Award from the National Academic Advising Association in 2005 and Trigon’s Thomas E. Hutchinson Faculty Award in 2013.

His research focuses on the development of novel optoelectronic devices, and his work has been funded by several federal agencies. He has co-authored more than 120 scientific publications and delivered more than 70 conference presentations.

Holmes will begin his new position with the UT System on Oct. 1 and will succeed Steve Leslie, Ph.D., who has served as executive vice chancellor of academic affairs since 2015. Leslie will be retiring after a 45-year career in higher education that included a variety of leadership positions at UT Austin, including executive vice president and provost and dean of the College of Pharmacy.

Holmes’s appointment, subject to the approval of the Board of Regents, will be on the agenda at the Board’s August 12, 2020 meeting.  

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of nearly 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.1 billion (FY 2020), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 60,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its health professional degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 9.2 million outpatient visits and 1.8 million hospital days last year. Across UT institutions, research and development expenditures total $3.1 billion – the highest in Texas and second highest in the nation among public higher education systems – and the UT System is regularly ranked among the top 10 most innovative universities in the world. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

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