The Columns

Daniel Wubah Named Washington and Lee University's Provost

— by on March 11th, 2013

Washington and Lee University has named Daniel A. Wubah, currently vice president for undergraduate education and deputy provost of Virginia Tech and professor of biological sciences, as provost, the second-highest-ranking position at the University.

Wubah succeeds June R. Aprille, who retired in 2011. Robert Strong, the William Lyne Wilson Professor of Politics at W&L, is serving as interim provost.

W&L President Kenneth P. Ruscio announced Wubah’s appointment, which will be effective on July 1, 2013.

“I am pleased that Daniel has accepted this position and look forward to working with him,” Ruscio said. “He brings a wealth of experience and energy to this critical position and has led a number of important new initiatives at Virginia Tech that have clearly enhanced the undergraduate experience.

“Daniel’s deep commitment to undergraduate education is readily apparent. He is committed to students, enjoys being with them, and enjoys helping faculty in their roles as teachers and scholars, permitting them to provide an undergraduate education of the highest standards.”

Wubah, who will also be a professor of biology at W&L, was chosen as the result of a yearlong national search. Ruscio praised the work of the search committee, which was chaired by Brian Murchison, the Charles S. Rowe Professor of Law.

“The committee brought forward a strong slate of candidates, and I deeply appreciate the many, many hours that they devoted to this search,” Ruscio said. “At the same time, we are indebted to Bob Strong for his outstanding work as interim provost these past two years. I value his personal friendship immensely and want to express the faculty’s collective admiration for his superb leadership.”

As W&L’s provost, Wubah will serve as a key member of the president’s senior leadership team and as the chief academic officer of the University. The provost is responsible for articulating, developing and nurturing the distinctive educational mission of Washington and Lee.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to serve in a role that advances the mission of one of the top-rated liberal arts universities in our country,” Wubah said. “Foremost among the many impressive features of Washington and Lee is the unique Honor System, which fosters a community of trust and respect that is uncommon on campuses across the nation.”

Wubah has been in his current role at Virginia Tech since February 2009. He had previously been the associate provost for undergraduate academic affairs at the University of Florida from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that, he held several positions at James Madison University, including special assistant to the president and associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics from 2000 to 2007. Prior to JMU, he chaired the department of biological sciences at Towson University.

A microbiologist, Wubah has held faculty appointments at all of the institutions he has served and has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses, including general microbiology, medical microbiology, microbial ecology and mycology. He has focused on the obligately anaerobic zoosporic fungi, dehalogenation of polychlorinated biphenyls and fiber degradation in the wood-eating catfish Panaque. The National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes (HHMI) have funded his research. He has published more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and technical reports, and given over 100 presentations at professional meetings.

Wubah earned a B.S. with honors in botany and a diploma of science education from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana; an M.S. in biology from the University of Akron; and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of Georgia. In addition, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency research lab in Athens, Ga.

Beginning at James Madison University and continuing at Virginia Tech, he has led the integration of international experiences in undergraduate education and research, serving as principal investigator in five consecutive international NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) site programs, including the longest continuously running REU site in Africa (REU-Ghana; 2002-present). He is currently the principal investigator for two grant-funded programs at Virginia Tech — the Scieneering Program, funded by the HHMI, and the NSF-funded Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms (WIDER) Program, focusing on assessment of instructional practices and outcomes in the general education curriculum.

Wubah belonged to the National Academy of Sciences panel that studied the scientific basis for estimating air emission from animal-feeding operations. In 2003, he testified before Congress on preparing the scientific work force of the 21st century. He served as associate editor for Mycologia, and for the past five years, has been an editorial board member of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal on Study Abroad. He has served on several NSF and NIH review panels since 1994, and he currently chairs study sessions for the NIH National Institute of Minority Health Disparities.

In his current role at Virginia Tech, Wubah is responsible for 17 units and programs with 178 full-time staff and faculty in the division. He participates in tenure and promotion decisions, is responsible for faculty instructional development and teaching awards, oversees enrollment management as well as academic assessment and program review, and supervises Virginia Tech’s Office of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Accreditation.

Under his leadership, Virginia Tech is developing five new degree programs, including an innovative interdisciplinary real estate program that involves six colleges at the university. He oversaw the development of the first undergraduate program in meteorology in the commonwealth of Virginia. He has also established new methods of academic advising, including an electronic degree and course management system, and has led the development and implementation of a vision plan for undergraduate education.

Wubah previously served on advisory boards for the NSF Biology Directorate, the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering, the NSF-Environmental Research and Education Committee and the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes Program at the University of Arizona. He also served on the board of directors for Project Kaleidoscope. For the past 12 years, he has been a member of the Board of Governors of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Wubah is a trustee of the SACS Commission on Colleges.

Wubah and his wife, Judith, have two daughters and two grandchildren.