Texas A&M University Interim President Eddie J. Davis tapped Mays Dean Jerry Strawser last month to fill one of the university’s top posts as the chief operating officer and chief academic officer. Strawser will serve as Texas A&M’s interim provost and executive vice president, starting work June 18.
He’s taking on a vital guiding role as Texas A&M faces a leadership transition, with interim positions at the president and provost levels and soon also in the vice provost’s chair. His departure for main campus leaves an interim dean slot at Mays as well, which will be filled by current Executive Associate Dean Ricky W. Griffin. Griffin, who has been on faculty at Texas A&M since 1981, has served as dean over research and doctoral programs under Strawser.
As interim provost, Strawser will work with Davis and other administrators to find a replacement for Bill Perry, the vice provost who is leaving Texas A&M this month to serve as president of Eastern Illinois University. David B. Prior, the current provost, is leaving Texas A&M to become the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Texas System.
A new permanent university president will be named before the search turns to fill the role Strawser has stepped into. Davis is serving as interim president while a 15-member search committee that includes five Mays former students works to name a successor to now-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who left for Washington, D.C., in December after four years as the university’s top chief. The committee could nominate a candidate for president as early as September.
Strawser has been Mays’ dean since 2001. He has fostered a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion, leading a team that has assessed and implemented improvements in the way MBA and undergraduate education is delivered. He also helped raise more than $40 million for named chairs, professorships, scholarships and faculty and graduate student fellowships. See Strawser’s farewell note in this month’s special deanspeak.
Incoming Interim Dean Griffin was editor of the Journal of Management, best known for publishing more than half of the most-cited articles in the journal’s history in just a three-year period. A lauded researcher and professor, Griffin’s management textbooks are now in use in classrooms around the world. And his research interests may naturally align with his new administrative role: he is a scholar of employee health and well-being in the workplace and workplace culture.