Eleven months into his job as president of the University of Texas at Arlington, Vistasp Karbhari has a firm grip on the reins and firm convictions about where he, the university and its more than 34,000 students are headed.
In short, it’s toward more and better — while taking pride in what the school already has.
This week, UT Arlington announced it has hired David Nygren, a renowned particle physicist, member of the National Academy of Sciences and since 1973 a leader at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.
Nygren is known for his invention of a widely used instrument, the Time Projection Chamber, for detecting and discovering the tiniest building blocks of our universe, particles that can be present for the barest fraction of time in a physics experiment.
In a wide-ranging discussion with the Star-Telegram Editorial Board, Karbhari bragged about the hire and about UT Arlington’s current staff of physicists and their students, who take part in some of the world’s most significant work in their field. He said he brought Nygren on board to “take that group higher.”
Only a month ago, UT Arlington announced the addition of Anne Bavier as dean of its 12,000-student College of Nursing. Bavier is a former program director at the National Institutes of Health and deputy director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health.
Bavier is expected to oversee the merger of UT Arlington’s Department of Kinesiology into the College of Nursing and oversee a combined faculty of nearly 350.
Karbhari said he has developed a three-fold focus since last June, when he became president of the university on the retirement of James D. Spaniolo.
He’s zeroed in on strengthening the university’s faculty (members of which, he said are “probably not as well known as they should be for the work they do”); continuing to provide high-quality education and access for students; and raising the university’s intellectual and economic impact on Arlington and North Texas.
“We’re on our way,” he says. No doubt.