After a successful national search, President Dan Mahony is recommending the SIU Board of Trustees approve Dr. Gireesh Gupchup as the new vice president for Academic Innovation, Planning, and Partnerships for the Southern Illinois University System.
Gupchup is currently professor of pharmacy and director of University-Community Initiatives at SIU Edwardsville , where he has been for 16 years. After serving as the founding associate dean until 2010, he was dean of the SIUE School of Pharmacy for eight years.
“Both the board and I believed that with the expanded role and added responsibilities the new vice president will undertake, we needed to open this search to candidates from across the country,” Mahony said. “Dr. Jim Allen and the entire search committee did an outstanding job and interviewed a very strong pool of candidates. As is the case sometimes in a national search, you find that the person best qualified is already within the organization. I am very excited to work with Dr. Gupchup and the enthusiasm he brings to the position to advocate on behalf of the SIU system and our campuses.”
Prior to coming to SIUE, Dr. Gupchup was chair of the PharmacEconomics, Pharmaceutical Policy, and Outcomes Research Graduate Program at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, from 1996-2000 and 2003-04, where he moved through the ranks to become a tenured Associate Professor. In 1995 he was a Purdue-Merck Graduate Research Fellow in Pharmaceutical Economics, Pharmaceutical Economics Research Center, at Purdue University. He earned a doctorate in Pharmacy Practice from Purdue University in 1996 and has since been an active researcher with extra-mural funding during his very active faculty career. He is well published in his field, and has assumed numerous professional and community service roles at SIUE and the University of New Mexico.
“What excites me about the vice president for Academic Innovation, Planning and Partnerships position is that I have always been drawn to a challenge to build and sustain new endeavors,” Gupchup said. “I believe that a key to success in many areas of the vice president’s responsibilities is developing a strategic plan with buy-in from the SIU campuses and external stakeholders. I know this is a key achievement President Mahony wants to accomplish as quickly as possible. I look forward to being a part of that process. Such a plan will consider how each SIU campus with its distinct strengths and missions, when combined, will have the potential to create an array of innovative academic, scholarship and service programs that can benefit students and serve the community in manifold ways.”
The successful search for the new vice president was completed with the assistance of the firm WittKieffer, the same organization involved in the search that brought Mahony to SIU. A 10-person screening committee, led by the System’s Acting Vice President Dr. Jim Allen, participated in a five-month national search, beginning with 45 candidates which resulted in eleven semi-finalists and five finalists. The committee was comprised of representatives from the campus Chancellors’ offices, the Provosts, staff, and faculty at both system universities. Full-day virtual interviews of the finalists involved other members of the SIU community, including a faculty group drawn from the three main campuses. The president received informed input from more than 25 participants in making this recommendation.
“Dr. Gupchup is an outstanding choice for the new vice president position,” said Allen. “The search advisory committee was impressed by his enthusiasm for working on inter-campus collaborations and partnerships. He is well known and trusted in Carbondale and Springfield, as well as in Edwardsville. I am sure Dr. Gupchup will serve the SIU system exceptionally well.”
At Mahony’s recommendation, earlier this year, the SIU Board expanded the vice president’s responsibilities of academic innovation and planning to include creation of partnerships and to play a central role in securing the future of the system. In this newly-constructed role, the vice president will work closely with the campuses, and their academic leadership in particular, to secure a robust and coordinated array of programs across the System.
“There is so much more we can do as a united system. Having someone in the president’s office who can not only advocate for the academic side of our operation, but can also assist in developing collaborative community and industrial partnerships will be a tremendous asset to our organization,” said SIU Board Chair J. Phil Gilbert. “On behalf of the board, we’re excited to see these opportunities grow under Dr. Gupchup’s leadership, which will help our campuses progress to an even greater level of success.”
In his position, Gupchup will play a leading role in identifying and engaging with strategic partners to facilitate economic development and community engagement and to promote outreach, collaboration and impact across the system. He is also charged with the execution of an aggressive strategic plan, which will explore opportunities for collaboration in shared academic programs, such as cooperative degrees, the development of collaborative research projects on more than one campus and the recruitment and retention of international students. In all things, the new vice president will be charged with creating inter-university partnerships that while organized at a system level, are done so without sacrificing the distinct characteristics of each campus.
“Supporting the academic needs of each university individually and at the same time finding new ways for them to jointly advance learning opportunities for our students, healthcare needs for the over two million individuals who live within the SIU System footprint and opportunity development for the many communities we serve is a position I’m looking forward to tackling,” said Dr. Gupchup. “Having the opportunity to work in an expanded role with my talented and dedicated colleagues in Carbondale, Edwardsville, Alton, Springfield and everywhere SIU has a foothold is an exciting possibility I look forward to starting.”
“Over the last two years, our Board of Trustees have been relaying the foundation of our university system, and while the work continues, having Dr. Gupchup in this role will go a long way in uniting not just the strengths of our two great universities, but their often untapped potential to work together to make great things happen for our students, faculty and staff and the communities we serve,” Mahony said.