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The University of Alabama

Benson Named Interim Vice President for Research at UA

Dr. Joe Benson

Dr. Joe Benson

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Dr. Joe Benson, a long-time faculty member and administrator at The University of Alabama, has been named interim vice president for research and vice provost at UA.

“Dr. Benson has the expertise and experience that we need to provide leadership for the Office of Research,” said Dr. Judy Bonner, UA executive vice president and provost. “He has an impressive record of achievement as an outstanding teacher and scholar and he is highly regarded as an effective administrator.”

“Research at The University of Alabama is a broad enterprise. Our investigations involve creative activities, scholarly work and, particularly, interdisciplinary projects, and include stakeholders ranging from undergraduate students to corporate partners,” Benson said.

“The University of Alabama has a long tradition of improving quality of life – economically, socially and culturally – through our research. This is an exciting time at the Capstone with many new research opportunities. I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students to take advantage of these opportunities and to advance the University’s profile as a premier research institution.”

Benson’s appointment is effective Aug. 1. He replaces Dr. Keith McDowell who was recently appointed vice chancellor for research and technology transfer for the University of Texas System.

Benson has served as senior associate dean of the UA College of Arts and Sciences since 2000. In this position he was responsible for academic and administrative matters in the natural sciences and mathematics, research, fiscal operations, and facilities planning including serving as College liaison in the planning and construction of Shelby Hall.

He joined the UA faculty in 1978 as an assistant professor of geology. Promoted to associate professor and then professor, he served as chair of the department of geological sciences from 1990-1998 and as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1998-2000. Prior to joining UA, he was a research geologist for the Ohio Division of the Geological Survey.

Benson’s research record in the area of petroleum geology has led to more than 80 publications in academic journals and substantial external funding to support his research projects.

Known as an outstanding teacher, Benson was presented the National Alumni Association’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award in 1988. He also served two terms as president of the UA Faculty Senate from 1993-1995.

Benson earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Cincinnati and his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.