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Associate & Assistant Vice Chancellors & Directors

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Michael D. Engelhardt, Ph.D., P.E.

Dr. Michael D. Engelhardt joined The University of Texas System in September of 2020 as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research in the Office of Academic Affairs. In this position, he assists in administering the Faculty STARs and the ConTex programs, and works with the UT System Academic Institutions to advance research activities.

Dr. Engelhardt received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining UT System, Dr. Engelhardt was on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin for 31 years. His faculty appointment was in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering, where he taught courses and conducted research in structural engineering. Dr. Engelhardt also served as the Director of the Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory at UT Austin from 2015 through 2019. Dr. Engelhardt’s primary emphasis in research is on the performance and design of seismic-resistant steel structures, structural fire engineering, and steel and composite bridges.

Dr. Engelhardt has been and continues to be very active in technical committees for the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) that develop building standards and codes used throughout the U.S. He also previously served on technical committees of the International Association of Bridges and Structural Engineering (IABSE) and is a former President of the Board of Directors of the Applied Technology Council (ATC).

Dr. Engelhardt has been a recipient of The University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and the UT Austin Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award.  He has been a recipient of the AISC T.R. Higgins Award for outstanding contributions in structural steel research, the Engineering News Record Construction Industry Newsmaker Award, and the AISC Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas and California.







Rebecca Karoff, Ph.D. 

Dr. Rebecca Karoff joined the University of Texas System in February 2016 as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.  With more than 25 years working in public higher education at the system level, first in Wisconsin and now in Texas, she is dedicated to utilizing the power of the system as a catalyst for quality educational attainment, equity, innovation and transformation in the 21st-century global society.

Dr. Karoff is responsible for leading and supporting student success initiatives system-wide.  Her work addresses the student success continuum, PK-20 and into the workforce, and recognizes the remarkable responsibility and opportunity of the University of Texas System to achieve more equitable access and outcomes for the state’s increasingly diverse students.  She is the primary architect of the UT System’s student success framework, and collaborates with institutional colleagues across the UT System to ensure student financial well-being, effective advising, and students’ sense of academic and social belonging.  Her work includes leadership of the UT System’s momentum-building strategy on Open Educational Resources (OER), strengthening curricular innovation, and working with faculty to embrace their roles in student success.  All her work is data-informed, equity-centered and quality-driven, and she is interested in expanded approaches to measuring student success.  

Beyond the UT System, she is a member of the Texas Transfer Alliance, a joint effort among the Charles A. Dana Center, the Texas Success Center, the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and four of the state’s public university systems (Texas A&M University System, Texas State University System, University of North Texas System and University of Texas System) to improve transfer student outcomes. She is active in NASH, the National Association of System Heads, and is a co-author of the NASH Equity Action Framework, a tool designed for university systems to assess their progress toward, and act on the adoption and integration of essential equity practices through sustained engagement.  She chairs the Equity Work Group of DOERS3, the Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success Collaborative, work resulting in the OER Equity Blueprint and Equity Through OER Rubric, developed to aid institutions in intentional engagement with equity as they build capacity on OER.

Prior to joining the UT System, Dr. Karoff served as Senior Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin System, where she utilized her extensive policy background to help drive proficiency-based curricular delivery and reform through a number of collaborative system-wide initiatives. She was the founder and director of LEAP Wisconsin, the UW System's partnership with the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) on its Liberal Education and America’s Promise or LEAP Campaign. With AAC&U, she led a number of grant-funded LEAP projects in the UW System. Additionally, she played a lead role in the planning and development of The UW Flexible Option, the University of Wisconsin System's online, competency-based educational program.

Dr. Karoff has been successful in identifying internal and external resources to fund institutional and system student success work, including grants from the Gates and Lumina Foundations. She has authored numerous published articles, and regularly presents at state and national conferences.

A native of Massachusetts, Dr. Karoff moved to Wisconsin to pursue graduate study in Comparative Literature. Before entering public higher education administration, Dr. Karoff taught Comparative Literature at UW-Madison, from which she received Ph.D. and M.A. degrees. She earned a B.A. with Honors from Brown University.






Dale Klein, Ph.D., P.E.

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.

He also serves on the Board of the Southern Company and Pinnacle West / Arizona Public Service. Dr. Klein currently serves as the Chairman of the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).  In addition, he serves on the Committee for Nuclear Power advising the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on their nuclear program.







Kevin Lemoine, Ph.D.

Dr. Kevin Lemoine joined The University of Texas System in July, 2012. As Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, his primary responsibilities include reviewing proposals for new certificate and degree programs; changes to existing degree programs; proposals for new departments, schools, and colleges; and changes to an institution's undergraduate and graduate admissions policies. He leads the System-level review of promotion and tenure recommendations from the academic institutions that the Board of Regents considers annually. He leads a number of initiatives related to the Chancellor’s Framework for Advancing Excellence including ensuring the quality and high performance of new and existing Ph.D. programs. He also serves as the Office of Academic Affairs liaison to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Before joining the UT System, Dr. Lemoine served as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Division of Workforce, Academic Affairs and Research at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. In that role, he oversaw the Academic Affairs Department where he provided leadership on statewide policy initiatives related to undergraduate education, graduate education, and distance education. His responsibilities included implementing the Board's policies on new and existing degree program review, revising transfer policies such as the statewide core curriculum and the Lower-Division Academic Course Guide Manual, and developing the 18 Characteristics of Texas Doctoral Programs, among other initiatives. As Deputy Assistant Commissioner, he served as the chief operations officer for the Division, leading several major initiatives to streamline and standardize the processes related to program review, administration of grant programs, and other Division responsibilities.

Dr. Lemoine has worked actively in transfer policy research, development, and coordination. In collaboration with faculty groups, he was instrumental in the development of several voluntary transfer compacts designed to facilitate community college student migration to four-year institutions. He recently co-authored a peer-reviewed book chapter on the Texas transfer experience and a peer-reviewed article on the development of the voluntary transfer compact in mechanical engineering.

Previously, Dr. Lemoine served as the Assistant Director of University Extension in the Division of Continuing and Extended Education at The University of Texas at Austin. In that role, he managed the operations of a large program offering evening credit-bearing courses to non-traditional students coming back to college to complete a degree. Prior to that, he was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in French linguistics and second language teaching methods and served as the Director of the French language program. He has also taught at the Université de Nice and the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in France.

Dr. Lemoine has an M.A. and Ph.D. in French from The University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in French from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Selected publications:

  • Lemoine, Kevin, James Nelson, Lynn Peterson, James Sells, and Mary Smith. "Facilitating Transfer of Students from 2-Year to 4-Year Engineering Programs." 2011. In the Proceedings of the 2011 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition. American Society for Engineering Education. Vancouver, British Columbia, June 2011.
  • Beinke, Janet, Doug Bond, Gabriela Borcoman, Julie Eklund, James Goeman, and Kevin Lemoine. "Transfer Success and Accountability: A Texas Perspective." 2011. In Transfer Students in Higher Education: Building Foundations for Policies, Programs, and Services That Foster Student Success. Edited by Mark Allen Poisel and Sonja Joseph. National Resource Center for First-Year Experience & Students in Transition.







Alan Marks, J.D.

Alan joined the University of Texas System in February 2009 in the Office of General Counsel where he advised senior management, human resources and other in-house attorneys at the fifteen different educational and health institutions.  Alan provided advice regarding governance and compliance, higher education issues, employment-related matters, contracts, policies and procedures, internal investigations, and other general litigation issues. In March 2012, Alan became a member of the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) where he currently serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs & Athletics Counsel.

In his role as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Alan provides strategic advice to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on a wide range of issues concerning the eight academic campuses in the UT System.  Alan oversees administrative and policy issues concerning the general academic institutions.  He collaborates with senior campus leaders to address critical issues and changes facing the campuses, including the formulation and implementation of new policies, development of new initiatives, and management of media sensitive issues.  Alan oversees and coordinates the handling of all student & faculty complaints from the academic institutions.

Alan played an important role in the development and support of the UT Austin Dell Medical School and the UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, and continues to work closely with the Office of Health Affairs regarding initiatives for these Schools.  Alan consults with and advises the Board of Regents Office regarding complex business, operational, management and legal issues facing the academic campuses.  He is also the OAA Liaison to the Office of General Counsel, and works closely with this Office to resolve various legal issues facing the academic institutions, as well as analyze and coordinate contracts for the campuses.  He collaborates with the Office of Governmental Relations concerning State and Federal legislative matters impacting the higher education industry.

In his role as Athletics Counsel for the System, Alan works with the athletic directors and athletics compliance officers to ensure that each academic institution is in compliance with all university, conference and NCAA rules and regulations governing the intercollegiate athletics operations at each campus.  Alan is responsible for drafting and negotiating employment contracts for athletic personnel at the academic institutions.  In addition, Alan, in coordination with the Office of General Counsel, handles all athletic related personnel issues including employment law matters and litigation.

Alan received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Louisiana State University in 1996 where he was a member of the Psychology National Honor Society. Alan received his Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School in 1999. Alan practiced law at the Texas Office of the Attorney General for 2 years.  Alan then practiced law at Clark, Thomas & Winters for several years before joining Thompson & Knight, LLP, in 2005 where he focused on health law, employment law and civil trial law.

He is currently a member of the National Association for Athletics Compliance, National Association of College & University Attorneys, Texas and Austin Bar Associations, and Austin Breakfast Group.  In addition, Alan is a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.  Alan, and his wife Meredith, live in Austin and are the proud parents of three children, Miller, Madeline and Cannon.  Alan enjoys volunteering as a coach at the West Austin Youth Association and Austin Youth Lacrosse Association.







Wanda Mercer, Ed.D.

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.







Nichole Prescott, Ph.D.

Dr. Nichole S. Prescott joined The University of Texas System in December 2016. As Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, P16 Initiatives, Dr. Prescott takes a lead role in strengthening the preK-16 pipeline and enhance college readiness for Texas students through expanded collaboration between the U. T. System, U. T. institutions and public preK-12 partners as well as entities. Dr. Prescott has a Ph.D. in History from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, two M.A. degrees in History and Women's Studies from SUNY and Miami University, and a B.A. in History from U. T. Austin.

Before joining the U. T. System, Dr. Prescott served as the Director of Student Success for E3 Alliance, a regionally focused data-driven education organization that is the Central Texas P16 council. Her work focused on eliminating the achievement and opportunity gaps in Central Texas. As director, she oversaw a portfolio of initiatives aimed at building education systems through collaborative action with education, business, and community stakeholders in order to build the strongest educational pipeline in the country as the means to drive regional economic prosperity.

Included among her accomplishments at E3, Dr. Prescott led the Central Texas Council on Educator Preparation and scaled a nationally recognized English Language Learning initiative to 52 schools in 10 districts impacting 10,000 students. As a result of her strong leadership around the transformative system work targeted toward improving outcomes for English Language Learners, E3 Alliance and its partners were awarded a White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics Bright Spots Recognition in 2015.

At the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Dr. Prescott was awarded the W. Burghardt Turner Fellowship (2000-2005) and the Hugh Cleland Award for Innovative Teaching by the Department of History (2005). Among her other awards are the Crane Award, presented by the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (2003) and the prestigious Frances C. Allen Fellowship, History of the American Indian Scholar-in-Residence, at the Newberry Library in Chicago (2003).

Dr. Prescott has presented at numerous academic conferences and has been an invited speaker both domestically and internationally. She also co-organized the Indigenous Peoples Symposium at Stony Brook in 2002 to commemorate and reflect on the United Nations First International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples. She has authored and co-authored articles in scholarly as well as popular publications, such as Atotankiki Myaamiaki, "What the Miami are Talking About," (Miami tribal newspaper) and The American Indian Graduate.

Dr. Prescott has been interviewed about her work by national media outlets, such as Indian Country Today and Univision, as well as local media, such as KXAN TV station, KUT (local NPR station) radio station, KLBJ radio station, and Ahora Sí (Spanish portion of the Austin American Statesman). She is a member of the National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Education Association, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association.

Dr. Prescott is a proud citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (Myaamia) and actively participates in the culture and language revitalization efforts of her people. Born in an Indian Hospital in Oklahoma, Dr. Prescott was raised on the Texas/Mexico border before she moved to Austin to pursue a college degree at The University of Texas as a first-generation college student. While Austin is her home, Dr. Prescott has maintained a strong engagement with the broader Native American community, formerly serving on the Board of Directors of the American Indians of Texas as well as former Executive Director of the Myaamia Foundation.

Locally, Dr. Prescott has served on numerous equity-focused committees. Among these are Mayor's Task Force on Institutional Racism & Systemic Inequities, Greater Austin Community Schools Coalition Team (Mayor's Office), Bilingual Innovation Design Team (Austin Independent School District), Newcomer Innovation Design Team Member (Austin Independent School District), Austin Opportunity Youth Collaborative, and the Austin College Access Network. She also volunteers for the Great Promise for American Indians, the Human Rights Campaign, and Out Youth.


 Lydia Riley

Lydia Riley, M.P.H.

Lydia Riley is Director of Academic Affairs for the University of Texas (UT) System. Recognizing that higher education is amid a profound period of upheaval and transformation, Lydia is committed to helping the UT System’s eight academic institutions adapt to historic technological, economic, and demographic changes. She oversees a broad portfolio of administrative and policy issues and monitors the landscape to identify new and emerging models of higher education delivery and financing. She is responsible for leading and supporting systemwide initiatives related to online and hybrid education, non-degree pathways, upskilling and reskilling, and tuition and fees. In all areas of her work, Lydia is committed to uncovering and addressing inequities in postsecondary access, success, and value.

Her work includes leadership of the UT System’s Texas Credentials for the Future initiative, an effort focused on expanding micro-credentials that certify the skills and knowledge most valued by Texas employers. In support of this effort, Lydia successfully secured funding that will help UT academic institutions incorporate micro-credentials and skills-based education into undergraduate degree experiences. 

Before joining the UT System, Lydia was a research manager at American Association of Nurse Practitioners, where she worked to advance the Association’s policy agenda by developing and overseeing studies related to advanced nursing education and workforce issues. 

Lydia is a native Oregonian and graduate of Oregon State University. She currently lives and works in Austin, Texas.