Texas Tech University

Purdue Professor named Vice Provost for Outreach & Engagement at Texas Tech

George Watson

October 31, 2023

Rod Williams

Rod Williams to lead University's community engagement efforts.

Texas Tech University announced today (Oct. 31) that Rod Williams, Ph.D. has been named vice provost of outreach and engagement at Texas Tech.

Williams brings a wealth of experience in the field of outreach and engagement, coming from his current position as assistant provost for engagement at Purdue University. At Purdue, his responsibilities include coordinating and evaluating engagement programs, spanning teaching, learning, discovery, and the overall mission of engagement.

In this role he also provides oversight for professional development programs focused on promotion, tenure and grant writing, as well as university and national engagement awards programs. He wrote, “The Guide: Documenting, Evaluating and Recognizing Engaged Scholarship,” which facilitated the development of high-impact dossiers for early-career faculty as well as provided steps to evaluate high-impact documents for senior faculty to use during the promotion and tenure process.

“Rod brings valuable experience in connecting outreach and engagement activities to the academic mission of a university and its faculty,” said Provost and Senior Vice President Ron Hendrick. “He understands the land grant mission, and while Texas Tech is not a land grant university, he is well-prepared to bridge our academic efforts with the broader community.”

Williams, who holds the position of Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist at Purdue, has served in various roles in the university's Office of Engagement, including as a project lead and provost fellow. Additionally, he has served as an associate department head for Extension.

“I am delighted to become part of both the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities,” Williams said. “I feel as if all of my academic training and experiences have led me to this point where I can serve by engaging university faculty, staff and students with community partners in innovative, scholarly and impactful ways.”

Williams' research focuses on the important intersection of agriculture and conservation management, highlighted by his leadership in the effort to bring back the Eastern Hellbender. This ambitious project brought together stakeholders, researchers, county extension educators and biologists from natural resource agencies across 10 different states.

Williams is an alumnus of Purdue University, where he earned degrees in wildlife science, conservation genetics and evolutionary genetics. 

He replaces Shirley Matteson, who has served as interim vice provost for outreach and engagement since January 2023. Hendrick expressed his deep gratitude for Matteson's service in this role.

“Shirley has done extraordinary work in connecting several units under the auspices of outreach and engagement at Texas Tech, as evidenced most recently in their coordinated work on safety surrounding the annular eclipse,” Hendrick said. “I am extremely grateful for her work.”

Matteson will remain in the role until Williams arrives on campus in early January 2024.