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Keppens Named Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs

The Office of the Provost has announced that Veerle Keppens, head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been named vice provost for faculty affairs beginning July 1.

“Dr. Keppens has served TCE well in multiple leadership roles over the last 20 years and although the college will miss her, this move is a win for the university,” Matthew Mench, dean and Wayne T. Davis Dean’s Chair of the college said. “As one of only 23 Chancellor’s Professors at UT, her reputation speaks for itself. She has been recognized over the years with multiple awards for teaching, service, and research accomplishments. I know she will do another excellent job in service to the entire campus in her new role.”

Keppens came to the Tickle College of Engineering as an assistant professor in 2003, was promoted to full professor in 2012, and became department head in 2015. She also served as associate dean for faculty affairs from 2012–2016 and director of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials from 2016–2019.Headshot of Dr. Keppens.

In her time as department head, Keppens successfully developed and executed a cluster hire in quantum materials, in collaboration with the Department of Physics and the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She also helped develop and implement MSE’s strategic plan, prepared the department for its program reviews, initiated student mentoring programs, and assembled the MSE Advisory Board to provide input and feedback for program improvement.

A native of Belgium, Keppens earned both her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, just east of Brussels. Following her graduation, she served as a Fulbright fellow at Oak Ridge National Lab before becoming a Humboldt fellow in Heidelberg, Germany. She returned to the U.S. in 1999 at the University of Mississippi before coming to UT.

She has authored or co-authored more than 80 technical papers and contributed to more than 70 technical presentations at national and international conferences.

Her work in materials science—with her main area of expertise being the elastic properties and lattice dynamics of novel materials—has led to accolades and honors including the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, countless university, college, and departmental awards, and being named a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.

Over the next several weeks, Dean Mench will meet with MSE faculty and staff to determine the best path forward.