UC announces new chief academic officer

Valerio Ferme, Ph.D, will join the University of Cincinnati as provost effective Aug. 3.

The University of Cincinnati has identified its next executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. 

Valerio Ferme

Valerio Ferme, PhD, will begin as UC's new chief academic officer Aug. 3. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand

UC President Neville G. Pinto informed the campus community today that Valerio Ferme, PhD, dean of UC’s largest college, will begin as the university’s chief academic officer effective Aug. 3. His appointment will require approval by the Board of Trustees.

Ferme has spent the last two years serving as dean of UC’s College of Arts and Sciences, the university’s largest and most diverse college. Among his accomplishments, he worked with departments and staff to align the college’s strategic plan with Next Lives Here and helped move the college in a positive direction financially despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. He also spearheaded a college-wide commitment to sponsored research, helping A&S faculty attract more than $16 million in research funding in FY 2021, up about $6 million from the previous five-year average. 

In addition, he oversaw an expansion of co-op optional programs in the college from two to seven and established a new associate dean position for inclusive excellence and community partnerships, among other advances in equity and inclusion.

He is a compassionate educator and administrator who believes deeply in inclusion and taking a student-centered approach to advancing higher education.

UC President Neville G. Pinto

“I’m thrilled to promote such a strategic and visionary leader to guide our pursuit of academic excellence at the University of Cincinnati,” says Pinto. “He is a compassionate educator and administrator who believes deeply in inclusion and taking a student-centered approach to advancing higher education.”

His selection follows a national search and a thorough vetting process that included campus-based open forums with finalists.

“I am humbled and thrilled to have been selected as the new provost,” Ferme said. “As we emerge from two challenging years, during which we have produced exceptional outcomes, the vision laid out by the president for an institution of higher learning that distinguishes itself as an anchor in service of its internal and external communities inspired me to step into the role. I am excited to collaborate in reaching the next level of fulfillment for this vision.”  

UC President Neville G. Pinto

UC President Neville G. Pinto

Pinto acknowledged the leadership of Kristi Nelson, PhD, who has served as UC’s provost since 2017, leading the pursuit of academic excellence as part of the Next Lives Here strategic direction. Nelson, who will step down Aug. 2, returned to serve following her 2015 retirement after a distinguished 36-year career as a faculty member, interim dean, associate dean and senior vice provost for academic affairs. 

“I, along with our entire campus community, are indebted to Kristi for such dedication over more than four decades of service,” says Pinto.

Pinto also thanked the search committee, led by Patrick Limbach, PhD, vice president for research, for their work. “Leading a search for such an important post is a daunting task, but doing so while also facing the untold challenges presented by a worldwide pandemic is truly notable,” says Pinto.

As we emerge from two challenging years, during which we have produced exceptional outcomes, the vision laid out by the president for an institution of higher learning that distinguishes itself as an anchor in service of its internal and external communities inspired me to step into the role.

New UC Provost Valerio Ferme

Prior to UC, he served as dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Northern Arizona University after having spent nearly 19 years at the University of Colorado Boulder. During his tenure there, he held several administrative positions, including department chair and divisional dean. He joined Colorado Boulder in 1998 as assistant professor of Italian, comparative literature and film and was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and professor in 2015.

A double-degree earner in biology and religious studies at Brown University as an undergraduate, he received his master’s degree in comparative literature and Italian studies from Indiana University and his doctorate in comparative literature from UC-Berkeley, where he also was awarded Fulbright and Chancellor’s Fellowships.

As a scholar, he has published three monographs, three edited volumes, two scholarly translations and a bilingual collection of poetry, in addition to more than 60 articles and reviews. As a faculty member and administrator at the University of Colorado, he was recognized for his pedagogy with the Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence in Teaching Award and for his work in inclusive excellence on behalf of staff and underrepresented graduate students with a Special Recognition Award from the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. He also spent three years as president of the American Association of Italian Studies.

Impact Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Our faculty, staff and students are saving lives, changing outcomes and bending the future in our city's direction. Next Lives Here.