University ushers in new provost, Domenico Grasso
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 20:02
Concluding a confidential search that began in July, university President Patrick Harker named Domenico Grasso the next provost of the university on Jan. 30. The Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate College of the University of Vermont will take over the top academic position on Aug. 15.
Grasso has a background in engineering and is the editor-in-chief of the journal “Environmental Engineering Science,” but he hopes to improve the whole of the university’s academic landscape.
“I think engineering is an important part of Delaware and of the nation in terms of the success of our economy, but I think that Delaware has many strong programs,” Grasso said. “I would like to be able to say that we’re going to be working on all the programs at Delaware and making the university truly great across all of the disciplines.”
Nancy Brickhouse has been serving as the interim provost since Tom Apple left the position in June to become chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. A group of 18 members of the university community formed a committee that worked with executive search consulting firm Spencer Stuart in a closed search to present a short list of candidates to Harker.
While at the University of Vermont, Grasso was integral in instituting a “transdisciplinary research initiative,” or fields of research that combined the work of related programs in order to conduct premier research in specific areas, called “spires of excellence.”
Grasso said his first impressions of the university were “very positive,” and he is excited to start working with the staff, faculty and students. The facilities and campus in general were also appealing, he said.
“I think Delaware is a hidden gem,” Grasso said. “I don’t think it has garnered the recognition that it deserves, and I think that one of the things I want to do is work with President Harker to make sure that it not only garners that recognition but it moves to the level of the great universities of the world and being recognized for that.”
The university is already considered a “public ivy,” he said, but the key is to get the word out. Grasso said there is still a lot of untapped potential at the university that he hopes to use.
While he has a few months before he comes to the university for good, Grasso said he has begun familiarizing himself with the faculty.
“I am already communicating with people on a daily basis, and I am planning multiple trips down before my start date to really get involved,” Grasso said.