Univerity of California, Davis, Chancellor Gary S. May has selected Mary S. Croughan as the next provost and executive vice chancellor. Croughan will begin on July 1.
Croughan is a seasoned administrator in higher education with 30 years of experience with the University of California and three years at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
As UC Davis’ chief academic officer, her responsibilities will include partnering with deans and faculty to achieve excellence across our academic mission of education, research and service. This will include implementing the strategic plan, strengthening and supporting the research enterprise, advancing student achievement and success, and fostering collaboration across UC Davis and in our communities. She will oversee the university budget and daily campus operations, and partner with Chancellor May to develop Aggie Square.
“I’m thrilled that Mary will join my leadership team during such a pivotal time for higher education,” May said. “She has deep roots in academia, and particularly with the UC system as an administrator and as a researcher in public health. She knows the impact and value of UC Davis, and we are proud to welcome her home.”
Experience in the UC system
Within the University of California system, Croughan served as executive director of the Research Grants Program Office at the UC Office of the President from 2010 to 2017. There she oversaw seven grant programs to develop and implement UC’s intramural research strategic vision, as well as overseeing research funds for the state of California.
From 1987 to 2010, Croughan served as a faculty member at UC San Francisco in the School of Medicine. During her time with UCSF, she co-directed a required course in epidemiology and biostatistics and won multiple teaching awards, including the Academic Senate’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
Also at UCSF, Croughan developed and led a practice-based research network with more than 600 community-based primary care physicians. Since 1987, she has conducted research in reproductive and perinatal epidemiology, specifically examining health outcomes of nearly 52,000 women treated for infertility, and their partners and their children.
Croughan served as vice chair and chair of the UC systemwide Academic Senate and as a faculty representative on the UC Board of Regents from 2007 to 2009. Throughout her career, she has served on numerous committees, including the UCSF Academic Senate’s Committee on Academic Personnel, as chair of the Universitywide Committee on Academic Personnel and as chair of the UCSF Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women.
Croughan served as a fellow of the American Council on Education with University of Miami President Donna Shalala in 2012-13. As an ACE fellow, she studied higher education within the United States and internationally, enhancing her expertise in undergraduate education, fundraising, athletics and crisis communications.
A voice for increasing research
Croughan is currently a professor in the School of Public Health at UNLV. She previously served as vice president for research and economic development at UNLV from 2017 through 2019. During her time as vice president, Croughan helped build UNLV’s research infrastructure, fostered interdisciplinary research, ensured that more undergraduates had research opportunities and identified strategic research areas where the university could grow.
She was instrumental in helping UNLV gain status as an R1 institution in 2018 (R1 connotes a university with very high research activity), which was seven years ahead of schedule. Croughan helped develop and open the UNLV Harry Reid Research and Technology Park, including Black Fire Innovation which is designed to promote collaborative research between UNLV and industry partners in the hospitality and gaming industry.
Coming home to UC Davis
Croughan is a proud Aggie. Her youngest daughter is currently a UC Davis senior and several other family members also are Aggies. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in community health from UC Davis and her doctorate in epidemiology from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
“UC Davis was the birthplace of my career and my introduction to the incredible opportunities afforded to students through the education and research experiences available at a public research university,” Croughan said. “It is an honor to help lead this extraordinary university through the current challenges facing higher education, while ensuring that UC Davis remains one of the world’s greatest public research universities.
“I look forward to collaborating with the outstanding faculty and staff to provide an excellent education to our students, to address the most critical research needs of our world, and to serve the state of California and beyond.”
Croughan fills the position that Ralph J. Hexter will leave on June 30 after nearly a decade. Last September, Hexter announced his plans to return to teaching and research in classics and comparative literature. Croughan has noted that “filling Provost Hexter’s shoes will be challenging” given his accomplishments.
Chancellor May said: “Ralph has seen UC Davis through a pivotal decade of growth across the board, and he had a major role in shaping the university’s direction for the next decade. I am grateful to Ralph for his stewardship and leadership and wish him all the best.”