TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Kevin Whitaker, a veteran University of Alabama administrator and faculty member, has been named interim provost.
Whitaker will replace Dr. Joe Benson who will retire later this summer following a 37-year UA career.
“Dr. Whitaker’s leadership skills, experience at The University of Alabama, and his collaborative and analytical approach to decision making, will prove helpful to (Presidential Nominee) Dr. Stuart Bell as he forms his administrative team,” said UA President Judy Bonner in making the announcement.
“After consulting with Dr. Bell and other campus leaders, I have asked Dr. Whitaker to serve as our interim provost when Dr. Joe Benson retires,” Bonner said.
Whitaker joined UA in 1987 as an assistant professor of aerospace engineering. He was later promoted to associate professor of aerospace engineering and mechanics and was named associate dean for academic programs in UA’s College of Engineering in 2000.
“I am both honored and humbled to accept the challenges as UA’s interim provost,” said Whitaker. “To work with our outstanding administrators and faculty and staff for the good of our students is a responsibility I take very seriously. And with Dr. Bell being recommended as our next president, I look forward, with great excitement, to the transition period in front of us.”
Whitaker has received several awards, including the Outstanding Aerospace Engineering Faculty Member and the 2007 T. Morris Hackney Endowed Faculty Leadership Award. He has been awarded numerous externally-funded research grants and has numerous reviewed publications.
Whitaker received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute in 1980. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University in 1982 and 1986, respectively.
Benson joined the UA faculty in 1978 as an assistant professor of geology. Promoted to associate professor and then professor, he served as chair of the department of geological sciences from 1990-1998 and as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1998-2001.
He would later serve as senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, vice provost and vice president for research before being named interim provost.