Interim UTA president invites James D. Spaniolo back to campus

James Spaniolo

Earlier this month, the University of Texas system paused in its search for a replacement for  former president Vistasp Karbhari and appointed Provost Teik C. Lim to serve as interim president of the University of Texas at Arlington.
Karbhari resigned in March amid an investigation into the school’s recruitment practices and a lawsuit against the school from a former employee.

University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken announced the decision in an email to the UT-Arlington community. The search was put on hold because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Vistasp Karbhari, UT-Arlington’s former president, resigned in March amid an investigation into the school’s recruitment practices and a lawsuit against the school from a former employee.

On Thursday, May 7, Lim announced two senior leadership announcements.
He said former UTA President James D. Spaniolo has agreed to serve UTA again as senior adviser for external engagement, reporting to Lim.
He also announced that Pranesh B. Aswath, who has served as senior vice provost for academic planning and policy since 2016, has agreed to serve as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs .

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Lim arrived at UT-Arlington in 2017 and was provost and vice president for academic affairs before the appointment. He has been serving as administrator in charge since Karbhari’s resignation, and Milliken said in the email that he has “been impressed by his leadership.”
Lim said in a letter to the university staff that the selection of Spaniolo and Aswath were decisions “carefully crafted upon consultations with our deans, president’s leadership council, and faculty senate chairs..

“I believe these appointees will help ensure continuity in both advancing our commitment to our core missions of student success and impactful research and in building upon our efforts to better position UTA as a strong partner in Arlington, North Texas, and the state,” Lim said.

Lim said that Aswath, in addition to his extensive three-decade record of teaching and research as a materials science and engineering professor and an international authority in processing and properties of advanced materials, brings a diversity of relevant experiences in academic operations, initiatives and planning, and collaborations with UT System’s Academic Affairs Office.

“I have been very impressed with his deep knowledge of the relevant academic issues and his dedication to expanding upon meaningful collaborations with our outstanding faculty and staff.’ Lim said.
“While it is essential for our institution’s vibrancy that we commit to creating more academic diversity in the president and provost offices in the long-term, I hope you all agree with my assessment that Dr. Aswath is the most suitable candidate to lead the Office of the Provost during the transition period,” he said.

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“Simply put, former president Spaniolo exudes Maverick Pride. As UTA’s seventh president, serving from 2004 to 2013, he was successful in positioning UTA and building many partnerships that serve well both this institution and our communities throughout North Texas,” Lim said.

He said Spaniolo will help guide UTA in enhancing partnerships, collaborations, and relationships.
“These relationships will be critical to the continued and future success of our great institution,” Lim said.
Spaniolo served as head of the North Texas Commission after leaving UTA and retired from that position.

Includes material from The Texas Tribune