Dr. John Hayek is the Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff for Academic Affairs. In this position, Dr. Hayek leads the UT System in many of its initiatives, with a focus on supporting student success in Chancellor Cigarroa's A Framework for Advancing Excellence. He also manages the UT System's Academic Affairs personnel resources.
Before joining the University of Texas System, Dr. Hayek served as Senior Vice President for Budget, Policy and Planning with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the state higher education coordinating board. In that position, he led Kentucky's efforts to develop and implement a nationally recognized strategic agenda, Stronger by Degrees. From 2000 to 2009, Kentucky was the only state in the nation to rank in the top five in terms of improvement in a number of key student success indicators, including educational attainment, degrees and credentials produced and graduation rates.
During his tenure in Kentucky from 2005 to 2012, Dr. Hayek also led the Council's statewide educational policy agenda and an integrated accountability system for tracking statewide and institutional performance in advancing short-term and long-term strategic goals. In addition, he coordinated the development of the $2.4 billion biennial budget recommendation for Kentucky's postsecondary and adult education to the Governor and General Assembly.
Prior to his work in Kentucky, Dr. Hayek served as Senior Associate Director and Assistant Research Scientist at Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research, where he helped launch the National Survey of Student Engagement, a survey used to improve the quality of the college student experience. NSSE has been used by over 1,500 colleges and universities since 2000. Dr. Hayek managed the day-to-day operations of the $3.5 million national initiative and also helped develop a number of additional surveys designed to promote effective educational practices, including the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement, the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement, and the High School Survey of Student Engagement. From 1996 to 2005, Dr. Hayek worked in a number of administrative areas at Indiana University including distance and adult education, enrollment management, and athletics, as well as teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in higher education.
Dr. Hayek has co-authored scholarly articles in the Journal of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, and the Journal on College Student Development, in addition to monographs on college access and student success including Fifty Years of College Choice: Social, Political, and Institutional Influences on the Decision-making Process (2004) and Piecing Together the Student Success Puzzle: Research, Propositions, and Recommendations (2007). He also has written on topics related to educational attainment, strategic planning, institutional effectiveness, college choice and collegiate quality, and has given numerous peer-reviewed and invited presentations at national education conferences. Dr. Hayek was a member the Brookings Institution State Grant Aid Study Group that published a report on state financial aid, Beyond Need and Merit Need: Strengthening State Grant Programs (2012).
Prior to his academic career, Dr. Hayek held professional positions at IBM, the Northern Trust Company, and at several non-profit, economic development organizations in South Florida.
Dr. Hayek received his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Indiana University, a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University. At the University of Chicago, Dr. Hayek lettered in varsity baseball and varsity football and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Dr. Hayek and his wife, Laura, have four children, JJ, Samuel, James, and Elizabeth.
Before joining the University of Texas System, Dr. Wanda Mercer was Vice President for Student Life at Tarleton State University for eighteen years. Prior to that, she served 16 years at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, including eight years as Associate Vice President and Dean of Students. In these roles, she was responsible for staff, programs, budgets, facilities, planning and assessment, and crisis response for all departments in Student Affairs. In addition to overseeing student affairs programs, over the years Dr. Mercer had responsibility for financial aid, student recruiting, new student orientation, disabled student services, diversity initiatives, first-year success programs, and academic support services. She has developed successful federal and state grants and was a member to the graduate faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership at Tarleton State University.
Dr. Mercer received her Bachelor of Arts and Master’s of Education degrees from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas and her Doctorate of Education from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Mercer has been active in state and national professional associations including service as president of the National Center for Academic Integrity, the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators, and Council of Student Services Vice Presidents. She served on the national board for the Association of Student Judicial Affairs and completed a two-year term as a fellow in the Academic Leadership Academy of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In spring 1997, Dr. Mercer was selected as a participant in the Fulbright Scholar program to Germany and later that year was an exchange delegate to France for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).
In 1999, Dr. Mercer was awarded the John Jones Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean by NASPA and in 2004 she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators.
Most recently, Dr. Mercer served as a team leader for the Texas International Education Consortium in its planning efforts for Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd University in Damman, Saudi Arabia and for Al Saleh University in Sana’a, Yemen. In 2010, Dr. Mercer was selected by the Foundation of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators as a Pillar of the Profession.
Dr. Mercer has made numerous presentations at regional and national conferences and to academic and civic groups. She and her husband Jim are the parents of three children.
Martha Ellis is Associate Vice Chancellor for Community College Partnerships. In this role, Martha coordinates the UT System community college transfer initiatives and promotes collaboration between the 50 community college districts and UT institutions to make it easier for students to transfer and increase the number of students who transfer from community colleges to UT institutions. She also coordinates initiatives and state level policy work between the community colleges and other Texas university systems. Ellis is responsible for the implementation of Transfer101: Community College to University (www.Transfer101.org) and the Texas Statewide Transfer Strategies Committee.
Dr. Ellis continues to teach each year. She is a leadership coach for Achieving the Dream and Gulf Coast PASS. She serves on the advisory committees for Texas Completes, American Honors College and Dana Center Mathways Project. Martha is a facilitator for the Future Leaders Institute of the American Association of Community Colleges. She is a committee member for the Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She completed her tenure as President of Region XIV of the National Junior College Athletic Association, member of the Commission on Women in Higher Education for the American Council on Education, and Board member of the American Association of Community Colleges. She was president of the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities, Texas Community College Association, and Hall of Honor for Phi Theta Kappa. Dr. Ellis is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association.
Martha served for 25 years in community colleges in Texas. Prior to coming the UT System, Ellis was president of Lee College in Baytown, Texas. During her tenure the college became a Hispanic Service Institution, Achieving the Dream College, number five in the nation for science graduates, and the only college in Texas to be selected for the Clinton Climate Initiative. Martha was also president of Texas State Technical College in Waco and held various leadership positions and faculty member at Collin County Community College in Plano, Texas. She began her professional career at Eastfield College of the Dallas County Community College District.
In addition to her Ph.D. from the University of North Texas, Ellis has a Master of Science degree from The University of Texas at Dallas, and bachelor’s degree from American Christian College. She completed post graduate work at Columbia University in New York as well as an internship at the Albert Ellis Institute at State University of New York.
Ellis has won numerous teaching awards and has scholarly publications. She is a consultant and invited presenter at national conferences on economic development strategic partnerships, change management, community college/university relations and student transfer, and leadership development. Martha has served on various chambers, economic development, and hospital boards.
Martha and her husband, Steve, have two grandchildren and humane society puppy CharlieB.
Dr. Dale E. Klein rejoined The University of Texas System in January of 2011 as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Office of Academic Affairs. In April of 2010, after serving 8 ½ years as a Presidential Appointee, Dr. Klein returned to Texas from Washington, D.C., working at The University of Texas at Austin as the Associate Director of The Energy Institute, Associate Vice President for Research, and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering (Nuclear Program).
Dr. Klein was sworn into the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2006, and was appointed Chairman by President George W. Bush, serving in that role from July 2006 to May 2009. As Chairman, Dr. Klein was the principal executive officer and official spokesman for the NRC, responsible for conducting the administrative, organizational, long-range planning, budgetary, and certain personnel functions of the agency. Additionally, he had the ultimate authority for all NRC functions pertaining to an emergency involving an NRC licensee. The remainder of this term was as Commissioner of the NRC from May 2009 to March 2010.
Before joining the NRC, Dr. Klein served as the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. He was appointed to this position by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 2001. In this position, he served as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics for all policy and planning matters related to nuclear weapons and nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs.
Previously, Dr. Klein served as the Vice-Chancellor for Special Engineering Programs at The University of Texas System and as a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (Nuclear Program) at The University of Texas at Austin. During his tenure at the university, Dr. Klein was Director of the Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratory, Deputy Director of the Center for Energy Studies, and Associate Dean for Research and Administration in the College of Engineering.
Honors and awards Dr. Klein has received include the Henry DeWolf Smyth Nuclear Statesman award in 2011, Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Nuclear Society, Engineer of the Year for the State of Texas, the University of Missouri Faculty-Alumni Award, and the University of Missouri Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering.
A native of Missouri, Dr. Klein holds a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has published more than 100 technical papers and reports, and co-edited one book. He has made more than 400 presentations on energy and has written numerous technical editorials on energy issues that have been published in major newspapers throughout the United States.