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April 27, 2020

Leading researcher, advocate for women in science named provost

Following a national search, Michigan State University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., named Teresa Kaye Woodruff as the university’s next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. She is currently dean of the graduate school and associate provost for graduate education at Northwestern University.

“Teresa’s experience and credentials are impeccable. But more importantly, she has a great understanding of education and research at a university with the scale and impact of MSU,” Stanley said. “She is a pioneer in her field and a champion for equity in health care for women. Throughout her career, she has recognized the importance of STEM education and advocated for its support at the national level. In addition, her time as dean of the Graduate School at Northwestern has given her a great appreciation of the critical importance of the arts and humanities in higher education’s efforts to provide for the needs of today’s society.

“I am confident Teresa shares our priorities for student success, campus safety and diversity, as well as our commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence and world-changing research.”

As provost, Woodruff will be the chief academic officer for the university, providing leadership for academic programs, research and outreach involving faculty, students and staff. Woodruff also will be an MSU Foundation Professor of obstetrics gynecology, reproductive biology and biomedical engineering.

“It is both humbling and a great honor to be invited to join President Stanley in the leadership of Michigan State University,” Woodruff said. “I have been deeply impressed by the faculty, students, administrators and staff I have met, and I am eager to work collaboratively to further empower the great teaching, learning, arts and humanities, research and service missions of this community. Together, we will foster a culture of high aspirations, strong core values and enriched student experiences that will drive a mission of excellence across the diverse and inclusive academic continuum that is uniquely MSU.”

Woodruff is an expert in ovarian biology and reproductive science. In 2006, she coined the term “oncofertility” to describe the merging of two fields: oncology and fertility. Oncofertility is now globally recognized as a medical discipline. In addition, she is an advocate for women in science and led efforts to change federal policy to mandate the use of females in fundamental National Institutes of Health research. She is past president of the Endocrine Society and current editor-in-chief of Endocrinology.

Widely recognized for her commitment to teaching and mentoring, Woodruff was presented with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring by President Barack Obama in an Oval Office ceremony in 2011. She holds 14 U.S. patents and is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Inventors, the American Institute for Medical and Biomedical Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Woodruff earned a doctorate in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology from Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology and chemistry from Olivet Nazarene University. She holds honorary degrees from Bates College and the University of Birmingham, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, UK.

She will succeed current interim provost Teresa A. Sullivan, who was appointed in September 2019. Woodruff’s appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Trustees at their next formal meeting. Woodruff’s planned start date is Aug. 1.

Since Dr. Woodruff was unable to come to campus in person, she recorded a briefintroductionvideo. A radio interview with Dr. Woodruff is also available.

By: Emily Guerrant