As Interim Vice Provost, Hart Vows
to Take Hands-On Role
ith extensive industry credentials and an impressive track record as a University department head, Ian C. Hart has taken over the reins as interim vice provost for research &graduate education and dean of the Graduate School.
"You have to take a deep breath," says Hart, referring light-heartedly to the lengthy job title that he's inherited, which is also among the highest profile posts at the University.
Hart, who came to UConn in 1994 as professor and head of the Department of Animal Science, succeeds Robert V. Smith, who resigned in April to become provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas.
Before joining the University, Hart served as Group Director of Animal Health Product Development at Pfizer Inc. in Groton. He previously held senior-level positions in the animal health pharmaceutical industry in such companies as American Cyanamid in Princeton, N.J., and Coopers Animal Health Ltd. in Berkhamsted, England.
Although Hart's position is considered an interim appointment until a national search determines a permanent candidate, he has already taken a hands-on role and is setting priorities and objectives.
"I didn't want to be only a caretaker," says Hart. "I want to get something achieved in the time I have."
Chancellor John D. Petersen selected Hart after being presented with a list of potential candidates drawn up by a University committee.
Hart's portfolio - as his title suggests - is broad, including promoting both graduate education and research within the University, and overseeing the work of the Office for Sponsored Programs, which involves the administration of a considerable number of state, federal and industry grants and contracts.
"One of the most attractive opportunities this post offers is to promote research and other scholarly activities within the University," says Hart, who holds a Ph.D. in physiology and biochemistry from the National Institute for Research in Dairying at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. "There is room for improvement in this area and I'm endeavoring to prioritize a number of objectives."
Our current problems with animal research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection service will be one of his priorities, he says.
"As the head of Animal Science and as a member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, I've been closely involved with those issues.
"The matter of animal care and animal research is of considerable importance to this University," he adds. "It's an area that now falls within my new responsibilities and I will continue to be closely involved."
In May, the University outlined a series of short- and long-term steps it is taking to ensure compliance with USDA standards for animal care, following two federal inspections of some of the University's animal care facilities that turned up some serious but limited problems with research animal care.
Hart's own research centers on the hormonal control of intermediary metabolism in farm animals. He is the holder of three U.S. and worldwide patents relating to the discovery of a new antibiotic in farm animals and a technique for enhancing the activity of hormones in animals.
He is also the author of more than 130 scientific publications and co-author of the book, Hormonal Control of Lactation, and has presented more than 50 invited seminars in nearly a dozen countries.
Speaking of the Graduate School side of his vice provost's responsibili ties, Hart offered high praise to Jim Henkel, associate vice provost of research and graduate education, and his staff, who recently moved into newly redesigned and renovated quarters on the second floor of the Whetten Graduate Center.
"Jim and his staff have established a one-stop shopping approach in registering and advising graduate students," said Hart. "What they've done is impressive."
Hart will also oversee the Office of International Affairs. "As a former foreigner, I am pleased to help promote international affairs within the University," said the British-born Hart, referring to exchange programs and research relationships with other universities. Hart became a U.S. citizen three years ago.
He resides with his family less than a mile from the Storrs campus. Now, when he leaves home for the familiar campus-next-door, he may be seeing the University in a different light.