Arkansas culture

Arkansas native seeks chancellorship in Fayetteville

Daniel A. Reed, one of four finalists for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville chancellorship, spoke about his roots at a forum on campus Friday.

“As a kid from Arkansas, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be home,” Reed said, adding that if he were chosen as the new chancellor, “it would be the honor of my life, the cornerstone of my professional career.”

Raised in the small rural area of ​​Mammoth Spring, Reed said education “has transformed my life, and that’s what I want for everyone.” Reed is Presidential Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah.

A 1974 visit to the UA-Fayetteville campus “changed the course of my life, because I learned to program,” he said.

At universities — especially land-grant universities like UA-Fayetteville — “we help raise students, and I want that for every child in this state,” said Reed, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science at the University. University of Missouri Science and Technology and a master’s and doctoral degree. in Computer Science from Purdue University in Indiana. “We hold the hopes of parents and the dreams of students in our hands,” Reed said.

Land-granting universities are “meant to go out and help people,” and that mission has never been more critical, Reed said. “We are not just the University of Arkansas, but the University of Arkansas. Whoever you are and wherever you are, we are committed to you.”

“University is out of reach for many people [due to cost]and it is a moral hazard, [because] education is the only thing I know that lifts people from one socio-economic class to another within a generation,” he said. “When we deprive people of this opportunity, we have failed.

Reed’s visit to campus on Friday included a meeting with students, faculty, staff and university stakeholders, as well as the campus forum, and the same plan is followed for each finalist.

Acting Chancellor Charles F. Robinson held his forum on campus on Monday. Jay T. Akridge, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at Purdue University, had his Wednesday. Cynthia Y. Young, founding dean of Clemson University College of Science, who would be the first female chancellor of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, if selected, has her forum on Monday.

More information about each finalist, as well as additional details regarding each nominee’s public forum, can be found on the Chancellor’s Search website at: .


According to the University of Arkansas System.

Previously, Reed was the University Chair in Computational Science and Bioinformatics and Professor of Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Medicine at the University of Iowa, where he served as Vice President for Research and Economic Development. .

The For Utah Scholarship “has had a dramatic effect on diversity by opening doors for students who otherwise probably wouldn’t have had a chance,” and it also helped roll out the school’s “near peer counseling” program. university, where recent graduates have gone on to secondary schools. to advise these students on academic matters, he said. The program has been “very successful” and is now used by colleges across the state, he said.

Universities must not only be accessible, but ensure that “everyone is treated fairly and feels welcome, [and that] is an endless journey,” he said. ” To hire [diverse] people and recruiting students is the easy part”, but creating a “welcoming culture so that they want to stay is the hardest part”.

It’s a worthy goal, however, because “we will educate our students better with a diverse faculty, and students will learn more from each other” when there is a diverse student body, Reed said. His grandfather advised him decades ago to meet people different from him because “you’ll get a different perspective.”


Among those who asked a question during Friday’s Q&A at the Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center was freshman Matt Hughes, who wondered how to balance the growing enrollment of the university – the university set a new record this year – with campus resources and services.

The University of Utah is also setting enrollment records, so Reed saw that “there is always a bottleneck somewhere,” he said. “Growth is important, but you have to do it thoughtfully, without [compromising] quality of experience.”

Hughes, who studies chemistry and is a member of UA’s Honors College, said he thinks the university will have to add staff and services for the growing number of students or restrict enrollment, and he prefers to see the first rather than the second.

“When you wait an hour at the food court for dinner, you see the challenges of increasing registrations,” Hughes said.

If a university intends to increase enrollment, it should plan — and budget — accordingly, Reed said. “You must be prepared to allocate resources for these additional students.”

Reed was the founding director of the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with cross-faculty appointments at Duke and North Carolina State University, and he was also a distinguished professor of the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor for Information Technology at Chapel Hill.

Prior to that, he was head of the computer science department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, according to UA-Fayetteville. He also served as vice president of technology policy and extreme computing for Microsoft, where he focused largely on cloud computing technology.

Although reluctant to leave academia, Reed said Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and then-CEO Steve Ballmer “are pretty persuasive guys.” He also learned in the private sector the value of being the first in innovation, because then “everyone is chasing you, [rather than] you pursue them.”

Students need to see and know that what they’re learning will change their lives, and faculty play a key role, Reed said. All Reed asks of teachers is that they “make a difference in the world.” He also said that “teachers who care about your learning are the ones who make a difference.”

Staff members also need to feel appreciated because “they are the unsung heroes of any university and don’t get the respect they deserve,” he said. In Utah, Reed helped set up on-campus career paths so workers could see the career ladders, and the university increased base pay for those employees.

He’s also concerned about graduate students, because “one thing we don’t do enough is career support for graduate students,” he said. “We have to remember that most people go to the ‘real world’ and don’t stay in academia.”


If selected as chancellor, Reed pledged to “listen and build consensus”.

“Anyone who comes here and says, ‘I know [what to do]”, you should be very suspicious of them,” he said. Reed said he would surround himself with staff willing to tell him “bad news” and when “he screwed up” because “it’s all about humility.”

For Hughes, Reed is the “favourite” of the three chancellor finalists he has seen so far.

Reed “has that real-world experience” in the private sector and a “unique perspective,” Hughes said. “He is great.”

Reed shares a philosophy with Daniel Burnham – the famed architect, urban planner and driving force behind Chicago’s famous 1892-1893 World’s Fair – who urged “not to do small projects”, and Reed said he had no no “small projects”. ” for UA-Fayetteville.

“The assets are all here, and this place is about to explode,” Reed said. “This place is on a roll. What we can design, we can do.”