NORMAN – University of Oklahoma President James L. Gallogly announced today that outstanding professor and dean, Randall Hewes, has been appointed to the position of interim vice president for research over the Norman campus beginning immediately. Hewes replaces Kelvin Droegemeier, who is the nominee for director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
“Randy has shown incredible dedication to the university and brings a high level of experience in research efforts to this interim role,” said Gallogly. “His appointment will be an asset to our goal of doubling research over the next five years.”
“It is an honor and privilege for me to have this opportunity to serve OU as the interim vice president for research,” said Hewes. “Under President Gallogly’s leadership, I expect us to work rapidly and ambitiously to make major advances in research and graduate education. I am excited to be a part of these efforts to help guide OU into a new era of excellence.”
As dean of the Graduate College, he has led reforms of the OU graduate assistant tuition and fee structure, and the tuition remission rate policy, to improve graduate program competitiveness. The reforms are projected to reduce out-of-pocket costs for graduate assistants by $3,000 annually by 2024. He also implemented the 3-Minute Thesis Competition, a competition founded by the University of Queensland. This competition helps students decide on the most important points in their research and find clear, engaging ways to convey them.
A member of the OU faculty for the past 17 years, Hewes has taught undergraduate courses in cell biology and cell/molecular neurobiology in Norman and has held an adjunct faculty position in cell biology on the Health Sciences Center campus. He also launched the Cornerstone course initiative, with the goal of engaging all biology majors in research as sophomores as a formal part of the curriculum.
Hewes served as chair of the Department of Biology from 2011 to 2015. He also served as chair of the Faculty Senate from 2014 to 2015, and he provided leadership on the Admissions and Employee Benefits Committees and the President's Graduation and Retention Task Force.
His research focuses on the genetic and molecular pathways controlling neuronal remodeling during insect metamorphosis. This research and related work in support of graduate education has been supported by more than $3.8 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
Hewes graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College with a bachelor's degree in biology and attended graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned his Ph.D. He later served three years on an American Cancer Society fellowship while doing postdoctoral research at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Hewes will also continue to serve as dean of the OU Graduate College.