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Mpowering the State

The Provost

Mary Ann Rankin

Mary Ann Rankin, Professor of Biology, became Senior Vice President and Provost of the University of Maryland, College Park on October 1, 2012.

Prior to assuming this position, Rankin was CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in Dallas. NMSI is a public-private partnership dedicated to expanding the pipeline of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduates and STEM K-12 teachers. Previously, she spent 36 years at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin, where she served for six years as chair of biological sciences and for nearly 17 years as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences.

As Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the UT, Rankin created, with her administrative team, numerous highly successful programs for undergraduates, including the UTeach program for math and science teacher preparation and the Freshman Research Initiative. UTeach has been cited as a national model for STEM teacher preparation by several state governors and Presidents Obama and G. W. Bush. UTeach is now being replicated in partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative in 34 universities in 16 states

As Dean, Rankin also led the launch of new interdisciplinary research initiatives, the construction of new, world-class science buildings, and the growth of existing and the establishment of new research institutes at UT. She raised over $800 million in private funding for academic programs, research centers, and academic buildings, including the new $120M Gates Computer Science Complex. Under her leadership, the number of women science faculty grew from 15 to 30 percent, and gender parity in salaries was established. In her last three years, she managed strategically the state-imposed budget cuts.

Rankin's research focuses on studies of the physiologic relationships governing the evolution of insect life history strategies. She is a member of the American Entomological Society, the Royal Entomological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She serves on several non-profit boards including the Southwest Research Institute (one of the nation's premier, non-profit R&D firms in engineering and space sciences) and the Science Education Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as the Advisory Committee for the Division of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation.

Rankin received her bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Louisiana State University, was a National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellow at the University of Iowa and Imperial College Field Station, Ascot, England, and earned a doctorate in physiology and behavior from the University of Iowa in 1972. She was a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University until joining The University of Texas at Austin in 1975 as an assistant professor of zoology.