After vacating the vice president of research position at the
University three months ago, Fawwaz Ulaby announced that, due to
personal reasons, he would not be taking the same position at
Purdue University as originally planned.

Purdue expected Ulaby to step in as vice provost for research at
a time when its expanding research program is benefiting from
increased state and private funding. Ulaby was scheduled to begin
Sept. 1.

“While I regret the challenges that my decision to
withdraw from the position may cause for Purdue, I know it is the
right decision for me and my family,” Ulaby said. “I
wish Purdue the very best, and I intend to continue to serve
Michigan to the best of my abilities.”

Although Ulaby will not resume his previous research position at
the University, he will continue to be a professor in the
electrical engineering department as he has been for the last 20
years.

University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said Ulaby will continue
to hold the vice president position until a decision is made
regarding his successor. She added that the University will conduct
a nationwide search to find a replacement. Ulaby said he will
assist in the process.

“I will be working with President (Mary Sue) Coleman and
Provost (Paul) Courant over the next several months to ensure that
(the University’s) research agenda continues uninterrupted,
and to provide for a smooth transition as the search for a new vice
president goes forward,” he said in a written statement.

Purdue Provost Sally Mason said the university in Indiana was
disappointed to learn that Ulaby would not be joining them in the
fall but is respectful towards his decision to do so.

“ … Our first reaction was concern for him and his
family. I have great concern and sympathy for Fawwaz and (his wife)
and know that this decision was extraordinarily painful for them.
Although this is a disappointment, this is not likely to set us
back in the research progress that is underway,” she
said.

Mason added that Purdue will conduct a national search to fill
the position and Charles Rutledge — the former dean of
pharmacy, nursing and health sciences at Purdue — will
continue to serve as interim vice provost for research, a job he
has held since 2002.

Purdue is currently undergoing changes to its research programs
in order to increase sponsored program activity in the next five
years.

“We expect that we can increase productivity by at least
10 percent each year. This year we topped 12 percent growth, so we
think we’re heading in the right direction,” Mason
said.

She added that Purdue will be adding 300 new faculty members to
contribute to “enhanced research activity.”

Ulaby would have joined Purdue as the vice provost for research
and led its research programs to achieve the desired growth, he
said in an earlier interview.

Under Ulaby’s reign, which began in 1999, the University
saw a growth of 14.3 percent in its research spending and was
ranked first in the nation by U.S. News and World Report for
undergraduate research.

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