New vice president for academic affairs named

The University’s next vice president for academic affairs will be Christophe Pierre, pending approval from the Board of Trustees at their Sept. 9 meeting. He is expected to start his position on Oct. 16, 2011.

“I am deeply honored and absolutely delighted to join such an internationally pre-eminent institution as the University of Illinois,” Pierre said in a press release. “Academic affairs are at the core of any institution of higher education, and I look forward to working in partnership with this university’s three campuses and its external constituents in order to strengthen Illinois’ academic leadership in the world and ensure its best-in-class status.”

In his position as vice president for academic affairs, Pierre will be the senior academic officer of the University and will advise the president on educational policy, academic programs, personnel decisions and capital and operating budget items relating to academics. He will also coordinate the academic planning and budgeting of all three campuses.

Pierre has served as dean of the faculty of engineering at McGill University since 2005. During his tenure in the position, the number of engineering doctoral fellowships McGill awarded rose from eight to 128, according to a press release.

He has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris in France, a master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University and a doctorate in mechanical engineering and material science from Duke University.

While he is vice president, Pierre will also hold tenured positions in the department of mechanical science and engineering on the Urbana-Champaign campus and the department of mechanical and industrial engineering on the Chicago campus.

“Dr. Pierre is a highly accomplished scientist with a strong record of administrative leadership,” President Michael Hogan said in a press release. “Through discipline and vision, he led the faculty of engineering at McGill University through a period of unprecedented growth, advancing the quality and stature of its programs despite enormous fiscal challenges.”

Before Pierre joined McGill, he held engineering faculty and administrative appointments at the University of Michigan for 20 years.

Pierre replaces Mrinalini “Meena” C. Rao as vice president. She has held the position since 2007 and will rejoin the faculty in the department of physiology and biophysics at the Chicago campus.

“Meena’s record as vice president for academic affairs has been outstanding,” Hogan said in a press release. “She has been a champion of diversity and has helped advance academic programs across all of our campuses. We all appreciate her unfaltering support for our faculty and students.”