The provost shares his thoughts on serving the faculty, staff and students of Texas Tech University and helping make the campus more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
In 1923, Texas Tech University welcomed its first class of 914 students. Since then, the university has grown to include more than 40,000 people who come from their hometowns around the world to teach, learn and work at Texas Tech.
In 2019, the university achieved official designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), an effort of the entire university community serving the needs of its diverse campus. The HSI designation makes Texas Tech eligible for up to $10 million in additional funding from the U.S. Department of Education to support the enhancement of educational opportunities for all students. As the Texas Tech community celebrates this achievement, students, faculty and staff are taking a moment to reflect not just on their own time in Raiderland, but to also celebrate those who have worked to make Texas Tech a more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus.
Michael Galyean, Texas Tech provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, has worked at the university for more than 20 years. Before moving into his current roles, Galyean served as a faculty member in the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR), where he was named the Jessie W. Thornton Endowed Chair in Animal Science, a Paul Whitfield Horn professor and, from 2012-2016, dean of the college.
We sat down with Galyean to learn more about him, his journey in academia and how he's helping make Texas Tech more diverse, equitable and inclusive.
How long have you worked at Texas Tech University and in what roles?
Galyean has served in several roles since arriving at Texas Tech in January 1998.
"I was hired as the Thornton Endowed Chair in the Department of Animal & Food Sciences and held that position until recently," Galyean said. "In 2011, I became the interim dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, and then the dean in early 2012. In August 2016, I became interim provost, and then provost in March 2017."
Throughout his service in CASNR and then as part of the university's administration, his focus on education and research and his mentoring and guidance of master's and doctoral students has resulted in several accolades, including CASNR's Outstanding Researcher Award and the Service and Outreach Award, the President's Academic Achievement Award, and the Morrison Award from the American Society of Animal Science.
How do you personally relate to your work?
As provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Galyean is responsible for the overall academic mission of the university. Each dean at the university reports to the provost's office, and Galyean also works with Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec, university faculty, staff and students to promote academic excellence.
"Work means a great deal to me," Galyean said. "I enjoy the strategic aspects of the provost's job and being able to focus on how best to help the university reach its goals."
What motivates you to continue the work you're doing at the university?
In addition to frequently communicating with faculty, staff and students, Galyean also is responsible for academic and budgetary planning; overseeing curriculum and supporting educational initiatives; developing and improving opportunities for scholarship and research; reviewing personnel matters like appointments, promotions and tenure; and ensuring the university's compliance in policy and external regulations.
"The Office of the Provost focuses on student and faculty success," Galyean said. "Seeing both of these groups succeed is my motivation and reward for continuing to serve as provost."
As Texas Tech approaches its 100th year, with a community that is more diverse than
ever before, how do you think your work has contributed to a campus environment that
reflects diversity, equity and inclusion?
"I am proud that I worked to develop a faculty diversity hiring fund, which has allowed us to make commitments, thus far, to hire seven faculty members who will add to the racial diversity of their departments and colleges," Galyean said. "I also believe the Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE) program that I've started will have major effects on all our students, but particularly first-generation and minority students."
TrUE, formerly the Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement (CALUE), offers opportunities for research, service learning and internships to undergraduate students who may not have had the opportunity to engage in these types of activities otherwise. The center leads weeklong, weekend, international, national and local service opportunities for students, faculty and staff during winter, spring and summer campus breaks, allowing them to travel and learn while serving the community.
Can you tell us of a student who made an impact on your life and your work?
During his time at Texas Tech, Galyean directed graduate work for more than 60 students.
"Virtually all of my 33 doctoral students and 29 master's students have affected my life and work significantly," Galyean said. "These students become your friends and colleagues during their education, and that relationship extends beyond their years in school into their professional careers."
As Texas Tech University continues to foster a culture of excellence, diversity and inclusivity, it is efforts like those from Michael Galyean and the Office of the Provost that will continue to show students, faculty and staff, that from here, it's possible.