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Neuroscientist Michael Quick named USC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

His responsibilities include increasing innovation in the undergraduate curriculum and the distinction of graduate programs, recruiting and retaining faculty and enhancing research

Michael Quick
As provost, Michael Quick is the second-ranking officer after the president and is the chief academic officer of USC. (USC Photo/Gus Ruelas)

USC President C. L. Max Nikias today announced the appointment of neuroscientist and executive vice provost Michael Quick as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, effective April 1.

As the provost of the university, he will be the second-ranking officer under the president and the chief academic officer of the university. The deans of USC’s 19 schools will report to him; he also will oversee the divisions of Student Affairs, Libraries, Research Advancement, Information Technology Services, Student Religious Life, Academic Space Planning, Global Initiatives, Academic Planning and Budget, and the USC Stevens Center for Innovation. In addition, he will chair the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Operations Oversight Committee.

“I consider this to be the most significant appointment in my cabinet, as this role is vital to USC’s academic mission and will play a decisive role in the university’s continued ascent,”  Nikias said. “Following an exhaustive search, Professor Michael Quick emerged as our top candidate, as he possesses the rare combination of abilities, experience and knowledge that will best serve our large, complex and very ambitious research university.”

Steering USC’s academic mission

Quick’s appointment concludes an extensive national search, with a pool of more than 200 candidates including three sitting university presidents, two provosts, 11 deans, and vice provosts and vice presidents. He replaces Elizabeth Garrett, who in September 2014 was named Cornell University’s 13th president-elect and who will be the first woman to lead that university.

As provost, Quick will work with deans and faculty to advance a number of priorities, including innovation in the undergraduate curriculum and enhancing the vibrancy of the undergraduate experience, accelerating USC’s progress toward greater distinction in PhD and professional graduate programs, increasing the stature of USC’s postdoctoral programs, recruiting and retaining faculty, enhancing research programs and further strengthening university diversity.

Professor Quick has proven to be an inspiring and tactical leader, demonstrating tremendous foresight, intellect and resolve in advancing the university’s initiatives.

C. L. Max Nikias

Quick, professor of biological sciences in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, was appointed USC’s interim provost on Dec. 1, 2014. He was recruited to USC in 2002 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as associate professor of biological sciences, and was subsequently promoted to professor and vice dean for research in USC Dornsife. From there, he was appointed executive vice dean for academic affairs in the College, before rising to executive vice provost, a position he held for four years. In 2014, he was additionally appointed vice president for academic affairs.

“In each of these roles, Professor Quick has proven to be an inspiring and tactical leader, demonstrating tremendous foresight, intellect, and resolve in advancing the university’s initiatives,” Nikias said.

An honored scientist

Quick received his PhD in neuroscience from Emory University and studied as a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology. He previously served as director of USC’s neuroscience graduate program.

Quick’s scholarship focuses on the regulation of protein function, especially as it relates to the signaling properties of neurons. His laboratory work has sought to understand not only fundamental biological processes, but also how those processes can be altered, such as how drug abuse, as well as therapeutic drugs, alter the signaling properties of nerve cells. He has received several individual investigator and center grants from the National Institutes of Health and is the author of more than 60 scientific publications.

He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards at USC and the University of Alabama.

Quick lives in Los Angeles.

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Neuroscientist Michael Quick named USC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs

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