The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Professors Janet Ellzey and Gretchen Ritter Appointed Vice Provosts at The University of Texas at Austin

Wed, April 22, 2009

Dr. Gretchen Ritter, a professor of government and a fellow of the Alma Madden Professorship at The University of Texas at Austin, and Dr. Janet Ellzey, professor of mechanical engineering and assistant dean for international engineering education, have been appointed vice provosts at The University of Texas at Austin, Provost Steven Leslie said Tuesday.

Gretchen Ritter
Dr. Gretchen RitterPhoto: Christina Murrey

Leslie also said Dr. Terri Givens, who has been a vice provost at the university since September 2006, is leaving that position Aug. 31 and will take a leave of absence during the next year while working on a fellowship with the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Givens said she will be continuing her research on immigration policies in Europe and anti-discrimination policies.

"I thank Dr. Givens for her hard work and dedication to our university and for her great vision in leading international programs and undergraduate studies as our vice provost," Leslie said.

Ritter's appointment is effective June 1 and Ellzey's is effective July 16, he said.

"Janet Ellzey is regarded as one of UT's most distinguished leaders in advancing international studies and I am delighted she will be joining us as vice provost to lead the campus in this strategically important area," Leslie said.

He described Ritter as "a great leader on campus for many years."

"She played a major role in our campus' recent Gender Equity Report. I look forward to having her leadership in the provost's office," Leslie said. Her portfolio will include undergraduate curriculum, faculty council, and faculty and student awards."

Ellzey said, "As we move into the 21st century, we must expand our global perspective. As vice provost, I hope to provide opportunities to both our faculty and our students to learn from other societies and to collaborate on projects of international significance."

"I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Provost Leslie on the goal of ensuring that the university is an inviting and productive place for all who come here to learn, teach and conduct research," Ritter said.

From 2004-2008, Ritter was director of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, the largest interdisciplinary center on the campus. She also was co-chair of the Gender Equity Task Force, which delivered its final report to the provost in October 2008.

Ritter's research focuses on women's political activism, democratic movements, constitutional law and history, and work-family policy in the United States. She received her bachelor of science degree in government from Cornell University and her doctor's degree in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship, the Radcliffe Research Partnership Award and a Liberal Arts Fellowship at Harvard Law School. She has taught at The University of Texas at Austin, MIT, Princeton and Harvard universities.

Ritter is the author of two books, "Goldbugs and Greenbacks: The Antimonopoly Tradition and the Politics of Finance in America" and "The Constitution as Social Design: Gender and Civic Membership in the American Constitutional Order," as well as numerous articles and essays. She also is co-editor of the forthcoming volume, "Democratization in America: A Comparative Historical Analysis." Ritter has been interviewed over the years about women in national politics by various media outlets, including the New York Times. In 2007, she testified before the U.S. Congress on efforts to advance women in academic science and engineering.

Ellzey earned her doctor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1985. She joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1990. She has managed international education programs for the Cockrell School of Engineering since 2004, first as associate director of the Chair of Free Enterprise and most recently as assistant dean. She has expanded the engineering study abroad programs to include options in Argentina, Australia, England, France, Mexico, Scotland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and Turkey. Participation increased from nine to 117 students in 2008. She speaks nationally and internationally on the topic of global engineering education.

In addition to her administrative duties, Ellzey has maintained a research program that includes international research fellowships in the United Kingdom and France. She has served on National Science Foundation research panels since 1990 and published more than 90 papers and technical reports. She holds two patents. Her research specialty is combustion with an emphasis on environmental technologies. She has developed a low-emissions combustor for gas turbine applications and an incinerator for used tires that condenses usable fuel from the exhaust products.

Providing early student research experience has remained a high priority for Ellzey, who has worked with more than 25 undergraduates in addition to her 30 master's and Ph.D. students since she joined the university.

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