August 6, 2021 - Interim leadership in the Office of Academic Affairs

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, yesterday Dr. Marie Mora shared her decision to step down as provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs to lead in a new role as associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives under the direction of Vice Chancellor Tanisha Stevens in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Marie has proven to be a strong supporter of our faculty throughout her tenure at UMSL where she launched the Women’s Faculty Network to support women in academia, the Associate-to-Full initiative to help associate professors take the next step in their careers, and guided a transformational grant from the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program as co-PI to improve gender equity in academic careers in the STEM and social science fields.

Marie has also been a champion for fostering an inclusive learning environment where students, faculty and staff members of every background – particularly women and traditionally underrepresented minorities – can grow and thrive. I am confident that she will bring her passion, skillsets and expertise to expand the portfolio, profile and reach of UMSL’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

To provide leadership over the Office of Academic Affairs during this transition, I am pleased to share that Dr. Steven Berberich has accepted a two-year appointment as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost, effective September 1. Steven will bring his experience as an educator, researcher and administrator to support and expand our academic programs over the coming year to best meet the workforce and economic development needs of our region while continuing to focus on areas of educational relevancy. During his second year, we will conduct a national search for a permanent provost to lead our academic trajectory forward.

Steven currently serves as the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Houston – Clear Lake, where he is also a professor of biology. In this role he oversees four academic colleges serving more than 9,000 students as well as units responsible for information technology, global learning strategies, online programs, sponsored research, institutional effectiveness, engagement, teaching and learning. Previously, he served as the associate provost for faculty and staff affairs at Wright State University, where he was also a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. While there, he established the Center for Genomics Research, served as chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, developed an educational track for promotion and tenure of tenure-eligible faculty engaged in educational-based research and established faculty credential procedures for every individual engaged in teaching.

Please join me in thanking Marie for her leadership, and in welcoming Steven to our UMSL community.


Kristin Sobolik
University of Missouri–St. Louis