North Dakota State University President Dean L. Bresciani announced today his selection of Bruce Rafert as NDSU’s next provost.
Rafert is Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University. “Dr. Rafert brings a career-long level of recognized experience and success in enhancing the caliber of academic offerings from instruction to research,” Bresciani said. “His achievements on academic and scholarly fronts are exceptional on an internationally recognized basis. He will be key to guiding NDSU, North Dakota’s first research university to reach the Carnegie Commission’s highest national classification, toward even more contributions to North Dakota’s success.”
Rafert earned his doctorate at the University of Florida, where he later was named an outstanding alumnus. He has a research portfolio of more than $9 million in multidisciplinary research activities, spanning industry, state and federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Park Service, United States Air Force and the private sector. He has produced more than 130 scholarly publications, and brings 25 years of academic and project administration, including, while at Florida Institute of Technology, serving as chief scientist at the U.S. Air Force Malabar Test Facility and as the founding Director of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy Observatory, located at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.
Bresciani said the quality of the pool of candidates was impressive, at a level not before seen at NDSU, and credited the 17-member search committee, chaired by University Distinguished Professor Neil Gudmestad, and dedicated participation from the campus community for a successful search. Final candidates met for two days with a range of campus groups, who Bresciani later met with to gather extensive input. “Support for Dr. Rafert’s strengths was broadly and impressively expressed from the groups and individuals from whom I gathered feedback.”
Under Rafert’s leadership, Clemson’s graduate enrollment has grown from 2,300 to 4,100 students, Clemson’s global reputation has increased, and the university’s rising stature in national rankings has been widely noted. He oversees more than 130 graduate degree programs, including 40 doctoral programs. Rafert has had a key role in elevating Clemson to one of the top doctoral public institutions in the nation and has helped build a portfolio of graduate programs of national distinction.
The Provost will serve as the chief academic officer of NDSU, and provide increased coordination of all university scholarly and instructional activities. The vice presidents for Research, Creative Activities and Technology Transfer; Agriculture and University Extension; Information Technology; and Equity Diversity and Global Outreach will report to the president through the provost. Rafert, 61, will earn an annual salary of $255,000. He will begin work at NDSU in July.