Michigan State names Northwestern official next provost

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

A top graduate school official at Northwestern University will become the new provost for Michigan State University, officials announced Monday.

Teresa Kay Woodruff

Teresa Kaye Woodruff, whose title will include executive vice president for academic affairs, will begin her post at MSU on Aug. 1. At Northwestern, she is associate provost for graduate education and graduate school dean.

"Teresa’s experience and credentials are impeccable," said Michigan State President Samuel Stanley. "But more importantly, she has a great understanding of education and research at a university with the scale and impact of MSU."

Woodruff is an expert in ovarian biology and reproductive science who coined the term “oncofertility” in 2006 to describe the merging of the oncology and fertility fields.

Stanley hailed her as a “pioneer in her field and a champion for equity in health care for women."

"Throughout her career, she has recognized the importance of STEM education and advocated for its support at the national level," Stanley said. "In addition, her time as dean of the Graduate School at Northwestern has given her a great appreciation of the critical importance of the arts and humanities in higher education’s efforts to provide for the needs of today’s society."

"I am confident Teresa shares our priorities for student success, campus safety and diversity, as well as our commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence and world-changing research," the president said.

President Barack Obama presented Woodruff the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in an Oval Office ceremony in 2011. She also holds 14 U.S. patents.

Pending approval of the MSU board, Woodruff will succeed interim provost Teresa A. Sullivan, who was appointed in September 2019 after June Youatt resigned amid the fallout of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

“It is both humbling and a great honor to be invited to join President Stanley in the leadership of Michigan State University,” Woodruff said. “Together, we will foster a culture of high aspirations, strong core values and enriched student experiences that will drive a mission of excellence across the diverse and inclusive academic continuum that is uniquely MSU.”