New provost announced, concludes six month search
Latha Ramchand, dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, will effectively begin her work August 15.
Jul. 08, 2018
Latha Ramchand will take over as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs to serve MU students and faculty one conversation at a time.
Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced on June 21 that Ramchand, dean of the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, would take over the position effective August 15. The announcement concludes a six-month-long search to replace former provost Garnett Stokes.
“Dr. Ramchand is a strong leader with a demonstrated track record in higher education, and I’m thrilled to have her join the University of Missouri,” Cartwright said in a release to the campus community. “She has the expertise to lead programs of excellence, student success initiatives, research, economic development and engagement. She also understands the importance of supporting and recognizing faculty who drive our scholarly activities in creative works and research, which benefit our broader community and the world.”
Prior to this, Ramchand spent 25 years working at the University of Houston as a professor in the finance department. Before serving as dean of the College of Business, she was an associate dean of graduate and professional programs, and later of programs and administration.
Ramchand earned a bachelor's and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Mumbai (formerly University of Bombay), and later a doctorate in finance from Northwestern University.
Thomas George, Senior Associate Dean and fellow professor of finance at the University of Houston worked alongside Ramchand for 16 years. He said her prioritization, logic and personal investment in others should help her to succeed in her new role.
“She’s a great person,” George said. “Anybody who has the chance to spend five, 10, 30 minutes with her is going to come away, I think, very impressed not only by her intellect but by how much she cares about what they’re doing.”
Ramchand has received many awards, including the Outstanding Teacher Award from the C.T. Bauer College of Business in both 2008 and 2011, as well as the 2012 Executive MBA Mid Con Excellence Award and the UH Faculty Excellence Proclamation, awarded by the Houston City Council in 1995.
Ramchand said one feature that drew her to MU was its connection to the community around it as both a land-grant university and an Association of American Universities (AAU) recognized institution.
The AAU compromises of 62 recognized universities that “continually advance society through education, research and discovery,” according to their website. Land grant institutions receive federal and state funding on the premise that they provide mechanical, military and agricultural education for their state’s citizens, according to their website.
“At the end of the day your biggest assets are going to be your people, and so when there’s a mission to publically serve the citizens of Missouri, with that AAU aspect to it, I found that very encouraging,” Ramchand said.
Ramchand said some of MU’s greatest opportunities include expanding research and increasing student success both on campus and after graduation.
Another one of her priorities is to further develop MU’s existing assets, some of which include the School of Journalism, School of Health Professions, College of Business, and MU Research Reactor.
“There are a lot of investments made at Mizzou that I’ve found,” Ramchand said. “It’s almost like you’ve made these investments, and now the next step is to grow that and to make it a part of the national conversations.”
She also noted that the opportunities do not come without separate challenges, stemming from the protests that occurred on campus in 2015.
“Sometimes these challenges force us to rethink who we are,” she said. “There is soul searching going on and I think, to me, being a part of that conversation where we can actually turn things around, that was extremely appealing.”
These conversations, she said, need to be inclusive, frank and about who the university serves– its students.
Ramchand not only plans to open up dialogue within the administration and faculty but with the students themselves. She noted that she was pleased to see the inclusion of two on the provost search committee.
“I would love to meet with students. [Meeting] could be formal, but it could also be informal, just come have some coffee with me,” Ramchand said. “Let’s sit outside and talk and tell me about your concerns and let’s see how we can help each other.”
Acknowledging the work ahead, Ramchand said she is excited and honored.
“If you had asked me to go to a place where everything was said and done, and it was a great place with not much work to be done, I probably would not find that as appealing,” Ramchand said. “There is work here and it’s the kind of work that I love.”
Edited by Caitlyn Rosen | firstname.lastname@example.org