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ASU Names New Provost/VP for Academic Affairs

November 19, 2014

Dr. Donald R. Topliff, dean of the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering at West Texas A&M University, has been appointed Angelo State University’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective Jan. 1.

Dr. Donald TopliffDr. Donald TopliffAt West Texas A&M, Topliff has been the chief academic officer for his college’s approximately 70 faculty, 30 staff, 100 graduate students and 2,000 undergraduate students since 2010. He is responsible for oversight of academic and research programs in the departments of Agricultural Sciences; Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Engineering and Computer Science; and Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. 

Topliff also has extensive administrative experience at West Texas A&M, where he previously served as associate dean of the College of Agriculture, Science and Engineering, head of the Department of Agricultural Sciences and interim head of the Department of Mathematics. In his current position, Topliff oversaw reaccreditation of the mechanical engineering program in 2012 and is supervising the civil engineering program’s current reaccreditation. 

ASU President Brian J. May said, “Dr. Topliff’s knowledge and experience make him the perfect choice to advance the mission of Angelo State University. I look forward to working with him as the campus community strives to enhance the ASU experience for our students.” 

While at West Texas A&M, Topliff also negotiated with Underwriter’s Laboratories to establish a wind turbine testing, development and certification center that is expected to become an international test site for UL certification. Prior to joining the West Texas A&M faculty in 1998, he spent 15 years on the animal science faculty at Oklahoma State University. 

A prolific researcher, Topliff has authored or co-authored more than 100 papers published in refereed journals and professional conference proceedings, as well as six book chapters. He is currently president of the Non-land-grant Agriculture and Renewable Resources Universities organization and a member of the Equine Science Society, Ag Consortium of Texas, Professional Ag Workers of Texas, and several other professional organizations. He has won several teaching and leadership awards, as well as a Texas 4-H Alumni Award and an Honorary Lone Star Farmer Degree from Texas FFA. 

Topliff earned an A.A.S. in agriculture at Colby Community College and a B.S. in agriculture from Kansas State University. He also holds a M.S. in animal science and a Ph.D. in animal nutrition from Texas A&M University.

ASU’s provost/vice president for academic affairs reports to the president of the university, is a member of the executive cabinet, and is responsible for enriching and expanding the academic programs while engaging with the faculty and stakeholders to foster an integrative learning environment. The provost/vice president leads ASU’s six academic colleges, library, Center for Community Engagement, Center for International Studies, Center for Security Studies, undergraduate research, and the Honors Program. 

Dr. Javier Flores, ASU’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment, and Dr. Heather Braden, associate professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and president of the ASU Faculty Senate, announced Topliff’s appointment after leading a 12-member search committee that identified and interviewed three finalists for the position. 

The position opened up in the fall of 2012 when May, who had a dual appointment as graduate dean and provost, was named ASU president. Dr. Nancy Allen has served as interim provost for the last two years and will now return to her previous position as vice-provost.