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Joseph J. McCarthy named Pitt’s provost and senior vice chancellor


Joseph J. McCarthy, interim provost and William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Swanson School of Engineering, has been named provost and senior vice chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, pending approval from the Board of Trustees.

An award-winning educator and key member of Pitt’s academic leadership team, McCarthy succeeds Ann E. Cudd, who left Pitt in 2023 to become president of Portland State University. As the University’s chief academic officer, he will continue to lead the development and implementation of Pitt’s academic vision, including supporting scholarly excellence among more than 5,900 faculty members and academic success among nearly 34,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students on all Pitt campuses.

“Dr. McCarthy is an accomplished academic leader and scientist with a proven commitment to putting students first,” Chancellor Joan Gabel wrote in a message announcing the appointment to the Pitt community following a robust and competitive national search. “I’m excited to officially welcome him to the University’s senior leadership team.”

Prior to his appointment as interim provost, McCarthy served as vice provost for undergraduate studies since 2017, where he focused on enhancing the academic experience of Pitt’s undergraduates. This work developing and facilitating programs improved student satisfaction and retention, student success and the overall learning environment, including quality of programs, dissemination of opportunities, undergraduate advising and mentoring, and diversity of perspectives and people. In addition, he has coordinated the review of programs and policies affecting undergraduate education. Beginning in 2020, McCarthy led the University’s highly successful, two-year accreditation process under the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which included a comprehensive self-study focused on inclusive and sustainable excellence, local and global engagement, and research and innovation.

“I am both honored and grateful to have been selected to serve as Pitt’s provost,” said McCarthy. “Having been at Pitt for more than 25 years — indeed my entire career — I am deeply committed to doing everything in my ability to support the diverse and talented community of scholars and professionals that comprise this exceptional University. I am inspired by the co-created vision for our future that is embodied within the reimagined Plan for Pitt and am excited to continue to partner with Chancellor Gabel and Pitt’s faculty, students and staff to realize Pitt’s collective mission and innovative vision as we engage with communities locally, nationally and globally.”

A member of the faculty since 1998, McCarthy served as undergraduate coordinator and vice chair for education in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. In these roles, he focused on leading departmentwide educational initiatives for undergraduate and graduate programs during a period when the department’s undergraduate enrollment more than tripled. He was also recognized for extensive contributions to teaching, curriculum development and leadership of undergraduate research programs. In 2008, he earned the Carnegie Science University Educator Award for his innovative “Pillars” curriculum that reshaped undergraduate education in chemical engineering. McCarthy’s other accolades include the Swanson School’s Outstanding Educator Award (2012) and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2015).

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the selection of Joe McCarthy as provost and senior vice chancellor,” said Anthony Delitto, dean of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. “As a Pitt faculty member for more than 25 years, Joe has a firsthand understanding of both the faculty experience and the student-faculty relationship that will serve him well in this role. I look forward to continuing to partner with him to advance the culture of academic excellence at the University.”

“Dr. McCarthy is an outstanding choice to lead Pitt’s efforts to build on the existing excellence of our faculty, teaching, research and academic programs,” said Robin Kear, liaison librarian in the University Library System and University Senate president. “His commitment to leading during transition exemplifies his dedication to the University, and for several years he has been a driving force behind the advancement of our academic mission. I look forward to continued partnership with him through shared governance for the benefit of all students, staff and faculty.”  

“I’m grateful for the extraordinary diligence and hard work of the members of our search committee,” said Anantha Shekhar, chair of the provost search committee, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine. “They committed a great deal of time and thoughtful consideration to this critical undertaking. I’m absolutely delighted with the selection of Dr. Joe McCarthy as Pitt’s next provost. His experience and knowledge, combined with a proven track record of creative and successful academic leadership, make him the ideal candidate to lead Pitt’s academic mission.”

McCarthy has published more than 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts in international journals, conference proceedings and popular press outlets such as Nature, PNAS, Soft Matter, the Journal of Physical Chemistry C, Chemical Engineering Science and Chaos. His publications have resulted in an H-index of 32, and his research group has given more than 45 invited lectures to industry, national laboratories, academia, international conferences and workshops.

He holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame.