President Jim Clements has appointed Fred King vice president for research at West Virginia University. The appointment was effective Jan. 1. King, who has filled the position in an interim capacity for almost a year, has brought new ideas and momentum to the organization, Clements said.
“Dr. King is a faculty researcher himself and understands the role that our research office plays in supporting faculty, staff and students engaged in research and scholarly pursuits,” Clements said. “He sees the big picture of aligning our research activities with the goals of our colleges and the University’s 2020 strategic plan.
“Dr. King is a champion for collaboration, especially in working with faculty, deans and external entities, and has brought great value to our land-grant mission through his results-oriented leadership,” Clement said.
“I am honored to assume this leadership role,” Dr. King said. “We’ve worked together over the past year to put together an efficient and effective infrastructure that supports faculty research and innovation in an increasingly competitive environment. There’s more to be done, but from all indications we’re moving in the right direction.”
King said one of those moves is hiring a new assistant vice president for creative and scholarly activity to expand research support for the arts, humanities and social sciences – in addition to the sciences, technology, engineering and math areas already in place.
Over the past year, he has also worked to reorganize the office to maximize its effectiveness in four essential areas: research program development; research program administration, including a new Office for Research Project Management; federal relations; and graduate education.
Another positive collaboration over the past year has been “to align the graduate education and research enterprises more closely,” King said.
In his role, King serves on the board of directors of the WVU Research Corp. and chairs a new initiative – the University Strategic Research Council – which provides oversight and guidance to the Research Office.
Future plans call for forming an external visiting committee for the research office, with outside constituents offering advice, assistance and a unique perspective.
Provost Michele G. Wheatly said King excels as a researcher and as an administrator. “Dr. King has excelled in the Research Office, and brings more than 20 years of experience on this campus to the role of vice president for research. He has a comprehensive understanding of what research means to WVU as both a land-grant institution and as a 21st-century research center poised to be one of the best in the nation, on par with other Big 12 institutions.”
Chancellor for Health Sciences Christopher C. Colenda agreed, saying, “In his year as interim vice president, Dr. King has demonstrated real leadership and a clear understanding of the role WVU research must play in advancing the health of West Virginians. I am proud to serve with him on the University’s leadership team.”
Robert Jones, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, said Dr. King’s productivity in research and graduate studies, both as a faculty member and administrator, make him an ideal choice to assume this leadership role.
“Fred has great instincts, excellent communication skills and a penchant for collaborative approaches,” Jones said. “Through his leadership, the Eberly College has seen substantial increases in the strength and reputation of its research and graduate studies.”
King began his career at WVU in 1990 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, rising to professor. He also served as director of graduate studies within the department. Prior to assuming the interim vice president’s position, he was associate dean for research and graduate education in the Eberly College.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at James Madison University and his doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Virginia.
He has taught a range of chemistry courses while maintaining an active, externally funded research program generating peer-reviewed publications. He has also served on dozens of service committees at WVU over the years.
King was appointed interim vice president in February, following an unsuccessful national search.
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