Provost Laurie McCauley is recommending Thomas A. Finholt, dean of the School of Information, be appointed the next vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs.
His appointment will be effective Aug. 15 and runs through Aug. 31, 2027, pending Board of Regents approval. Finholt will succeed Amy Dittmar, who stepped down to become provost at Rice University.
(Update: The Board of Regents approved Finholt’s appointment July 21.)
“Dean Finholt has been actively involved in budgetary discussions and strategy, including through his service as the chair of the deans’ budget subcommittee. The School of Information has thrived under his leadership, both programmatically and financially,” McCauley said.
“Given his broad experience in financial decision making and higher education administration, I am confident that he is extremely well qualified to provide leadership in academic and budgetary matters.”
The vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs works collaboratively with the provost in setting policy pertaining to academic and budgetary issues, and serves as a direct liaison to deans and directors in many areas of academic and budgetary affairs.
“I am excited and honored to be recommended for this position. My experience as dean and as chair of the APG budget committee has provided a strong preparation for this new role,” Finholt said. “I am eager to join Provost McCauley and her team in guiding U-M to meet the challenges that face us and to maintain our position as a leading public university.”
Finholt received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College and a doctorate in social and decision sciences from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to completing his Ph.D., he completed a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
He joined U-M in 1991 as an assistant professor of psychology in LSA. From 1997-2009, his appointments from assistant research scientist to research professor resided in the School of Information.
In 2009, Finholt was appointed professor of information in UMSI. He was a co-founder and then director of the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work. Starting in the mid-1990s and continuing for 20 years, CREW pioneered the study of human-computer interaction in organizational settings, including research on many applications that are now commonplace, such as videoconferencing and shared document editing.
His previous roles in the school include associate dean for research and innovation (2006-10), senior associate dean for faculty (2010-12), senior associate dean for academic affairs (2012-15), acting dean (2013), interim dean (2015-16) and dean (2016-present). An interim dean for the School of Information will be appointed soon.
Finholt’s research areas include collective intelligence and organizational technology, data science, analytics and visualization, human computer interaction, and science, technology and society.
He helped develop several key systems for scientific discovery over the internet, including the Space Physics and Aeronomy Research Collaboratory and the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation.
His current research contributions include the organization of a network of faculty across 13 units on campus to develop an augmented/virtual/mixed-reality strategy for the university. He also is active in the sports analytics initiative, where students from various disciplines work with trainers and coaches in the athletic department to analyze athletes’ health, safety and performance using data gathered from wearable devices.
Since 1992, he has been the principal investigator on grants totaling more than $8 million, and a co-principal investigator on grants totaling more than $9 million, predominantly from the NSF. He has co-authored more than 50 refereed articles, chapters and conference proceedings.