Archie L. Holmes Jr., vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Virginia and an electrical and computer engineering professor in UVA’s School of Engineering, has been selected as the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of the University of Texas system. His appointment begins Oct. 1.
“Archie’s departure will be a real loss for UVA, but I could not be more excited for him and for the University of Texas system,” UVA President Jim Ryan said. “Over the last few months in particular, Provost Liz Magill and I have trusted Archie to help us navigate some of our most difficult challenges related to the pandemic – from moving spring classes online in a matter of days, to coming up with academic plans for the fall. In the time I’ve known him, Archie has been a tireless advocate for students and faculty, a trusted leader in the provost’s office, and a true joy to be around. I wish him nothing but the best at his alma mater.”
As vice provost for academic affairs, Holmes has played a central role in strengthening the connections between schools, promoting interdisciplinary studies, enhancing the student academic experience and improving advising. His responsibilities ranged over a wide swath of academic matters, including planning, program review, accreditation, enrollment management and oversight of several academic units.
“The personal and professional satisfaction of being on the faculty and in the provost’s office at the University of Virginia has been more than I could have imagined,” Holmes said. “I feel my colleagues and I have accomplished so much here, and my experiences, ranging from great to challenging, have made me a better person, faculty member and administrator.”
Holmes counts meaningful collaborations with others across Grounds among his proudest accomplishments. This includes overseeing the Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research program, or USOAR, introducing students with financial need and from underrepresented populations to enriching research experiences. Advising and experiential learning were other target areas; for example, under Holmes, the Center for Teaching Excellence established Thrive grants for faculty adding experiential learning to existing syllabi. Finally, he worked with the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs to launch Ph.D. Plus, a University-wide initiative that prepares graduate and postdoctoral students across all disciplines for long-term career success through a series of practical modules.
“Archie’s contributions to our students, office and our University community over the past 14 years are too many to count,” UVA provost Liz Magill said. “His steadfast dedication to advancing our academic mission is seen and felt every day. We will miss him in the provost’s office, but it is a point of pride for UVA that other institutions recruit our talented leaders. We can’t wait to see what Archie accomplishes in his new role.”
As executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, Holmes will work closely with the presidents and the academic leadership of the eight UT academic institutions to help them achieve their strategic goals. He also will hold a tenured professorship in the Cockrell School of Engineering at UT-Austin. Holmes cited student interaction as one of his greatest joys; at UT, he will work with the system’s student and faculty advisory groups.
Prior to joining UVA in 2007, Archie was an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin and holder of the Lybarger Endowed Faculty Fellowship. His research interests are focused on the development of novel optoelectronic devices, particularly in the short- and mid-infrared wavelength ranges. This work has been funded by several federal agencies and he has been actively involved in projects translating his research into the commercial sector. Over his career, Holmes has been a co-author of more than 120 scientific publications and delivered more than 70 conference presentations.
“Archie is a valued and respected member of our engineering faculty, and we are proud when other institutions recognize our faculty’s leadership,” UVA Engineering Dean Craig H. Benson said. “We wish him all the best for this well-deserved new opportunity.”
Holmes was an inaugural member of UVA’s University Academy of Teaching and received a Hartfield–Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize in 2012. Holmes also received an Outstanding New Advisor Award from the National Academic Advising Association in 2005 and Trigon’s Thomas E. Hutchinson Faculty Award in 2013. Holmes became vice provost for educational innovation and interdisciplinary studies in 2014 and vice provost for academic affairs in 2016.