By Debbie Hall
Noted archaeologist Diane Chase has been selected as the new executive vice president and provost for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As UNLV’s chief academic officer, Chase will work closely with deans and faculty to develop, implement and promote educational and scholarship goals. This includes classes and academic programs especially for students’ success initiatives. She is also focusing on the new medical school opening soon, including its location and financing. She will oversee academic and budgetary policy and priorities, as well as work with UNLV president Len Jessup to implement UNLV’s ambitious strategic plan to become a top tier public university in research, education and community impact. For the past 15 years, Chase has served in a variety of administrative roles for the nation’s second largest university.
“Diane is a dynamic leader whose expertise as a faculty member and administrator will benefit UNLV greatly and help drive us toward our top tier goals,” said Jessup. “Her rich experience at the University of Central Florida aligns with our vision at UNLV to build strong academic programs, support faculty and student success, and forge community partnerships.”
Chase brings broad administrative experience to UNLV, having served in leadership roles in academic affairs, planning and evaluation, international and interdisciplinary studies, arts and humanities, and for a time as interim provost at UCF. She also led accreditation and assessment activities for UCF and was a member of the president’s advisory staff.
Having developed a love for science at a young age, Chase was inspired by the museums her family visited during vacations. She discovered her passion while attending college, and obtained both a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Chase’s archaeological work on the ancient Maya earned UCF’s highest faculty honor and led to her election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She remains active in archaeology, publishing articles, presenting at conferences and conducting fieldwork in the jungles of Belize.
As for working as an administrator, “I had envisioned that I would teach and do research after getting my Ph.D.,” she explained. Chase was encouraged by other administrators to consider applying as faculty fellow in the provost office at UCF. “The same skills I used as an archaeologist were also used in administration. This new position became an extension of my skillset, and I was intrigued how it all worked together in a broader context. I wanted to continue in this area as well as my research. I believe my contribution in both areas can make a difference.”
Chase hadn’t planned on leaving Florida, but when the opportunity came up at UNLV she researched her options and decided to accept. “Both UCF and UNLV are relatively young universities that grew very quickly, faced similar challenges and offer opportunities with partnerships with the community. I am very happy I did accept.”