Profile of UT President Greg Fenves in NAS’s Academic Questions

My profile of UT President Greg Fenves in the Spring 2019 issue of the National Association of Scholar’s quarterly publication, Academic Questions, entitled “Gregory Fenves: An Unlikely Radical at the Helm of UT-Austin,” is now available online. The link is here. It begins:

Gregory Fenves became President of the University of Texas at Austin in 2015,
succeeding the scandal-plagued Bill Powerswho was forced to resign amidst
revelations of a secret back door admissions process for influential legislators
and UT donors. The Longhorn Nation yearned for a respite from the controversy
Powers had shown a knack for generating. Powerss long tenure (2006-2015 ) was
notable for his frequent conflicts with his boss, UT Chancellor Francisco
Cigarroa, and the reform minded Board of Regents appointed by conservative
Governor Rick Perry. Powerss steadfast resistance to Perrys proposed reforms
was rewarded by the higher education establishment, which selected him to chair
the prestigious Association of American Universities in 2013.
Unlike Powers, Fenves appeared to be an outsider to the tight-knit UT crony
culture; he was hired as Dean of UTs engineering school in 2008, after spending
twenty years teaching at UC Berkeley. In the waning days of Powerss embattled
administration, Fenves was quietly promoted to Executive Vice President and
Provost at UT, where he attracted little attention prior to being appointed as UTs
twenty-ninth president. The 61-year old Fenves is disarmingly mainstream in
appearance, always conservatively attired and projecting a mild mannered mien.
Unlike the humanities, or law, engineering is not generally regarded as an activist
discipline. Dispelling any hopes that the Forty Acres”—as alumni affectionately
refer to the Austin campuswould return to normality, however , Fenves quickly
showed that he was not a milquetoast engineer , but a fulsome social justice warrior
in his own right. Fenvess official UT profile proudly proclaims that Diversity and
inclusion are cornerstones of Fenvess vision for higher education.
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