ARLINGTON — Vistasp Karbhari, University of Texax at Arlington’s new president, starts his tenure Monday by reaching out to area and campus leaders.Karbhari, former provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, is UT Arlington’s eighth president. He replaces James D. Spaniolo, who is retiring.“I am humbled by the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of President Spaniolo and others, including President Wendell Nedderman, who built this great institution to where it stands today — poised to take the next step toward Tier One status,” Karbhari said in a news release.Karbhari was named UTA president by the University of Texas System Board of Regents in March. He was the sole finalist for the job.“UT Arlington is a model for the 21st century urban university, a shining example in the areas of educational excellence, delivery, access and translation to research to practice,” Karbhari stated.This week, Karbhari plans to meet with various administrators, according to UTA. Plans include making phone calls to heads of the campus Faculty Senate, Staff Advisory Council, Student Congress, Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and Tarrant County College Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley.Karbhari also planned to meet with the new campus Police Chief Kim Lemaux.Biographical information about the new president went online on the campus website this weekend.Karbhari has said he wants to help guide the campus on its quest to gain top tier research status. UTA is among a handful of Texas campuses vying for that status — one that is only currently held by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Rice University.Higher education leaders have stressed a need for more top research universities, saying that top Texas students will leave the state if there are not enough research-centered campuses.“They can’t fulfill the demand for the entire state of Texas,” UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa told the Star-Telegram in May.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1