Banavar has led the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences since 2011
Jayanth Banavar, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) at the University of Maryland, has been named provost and senior vice president at the University of Oregon. Banavar will end his six-year tenure at UMD in July and a national search for his replacement will begin immediately.
“Jayanth’s positive, collaborative approach to building excellence and to program development will be very much missed here at UMD,” said Mary Ann Rankin, UMD’s senior vice president and provost.
Banavar’s accomplishments at UMD have been extensive, including helping to obtain the largest gift in university history and other significant gifts to build the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation, securing 12 new endowed chairs and professorships for the college, and increasing graduate student stipends.
He also supported many new initiatives aimed at transforming the student experience, including the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students, Terrapin Teachers, the Maryland Center for Women in Computing, BioFIRE—the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience (FIRE) focused on biological and chemical sciences research, and several annual hackathons.
During Banavar’s tenure as dean, the college’s four-year graduation rate increased by 9 percent while the number of bachelor degrees awarded increased by 28 percent; the college was awarded four new graduate student training grants in the life sciences; and research funding in the college increased by 15 percent, despite reductions in federal funding.
Banavar also solidified and expanded partnerships with federal agencies. Since his arrival, the National Institute of Standards and Technology created a new Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS) with the college; NASA awarded the college’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) a $36 million cooperative funding agreement; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration renewed ESSIC’s Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS) for $93 million; and the National Science Foundation renewed the college’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) for $28.5 million.
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve this college for the past five and a half years,” Banavar said. “Thanks to the wonderful students, faculty and staff in CMNS, we have moved the college forward during difficult financial times. I know that our college will continue to be an outstanding leader in the sciences around the state, nation and world.”
A physics professor and fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Banavar’s research frequently involves interdisciplinary collaboration with the life sciences. He has more than 300 publications in refereed journals, 11 book chapters, a book he co-edited and three patents.
Prior to joining UMD, Banavar served as Distinguished Professor and George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Department Head of Physics at Pennsylvania State University. He received a bachelor of science with honors and a master of science in physics from Bangalore University. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pittsburgh.
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About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 7,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college’s 10 departments and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $150 million.