Bruce Carney, who has been interim executive vice chancellor and provost since last August, has had “interim” removed from the title. The Board of Trustees approved his appointment to the position by Chancellor Holden Thorp in March.
Carney, a member of Carolina’s astronomy faculty since 1980, became chair of the department of physics and astronomy in 1999 and served as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for a year after Thorp ’86 was named chancellor in 2008.
The University had narrowed a search for a new provost to three candidates who made widely publicized public lectures in Chapel Hill in January and February.
“But ultimately, there just wasn’t a match,” Thorp wrote in a letter to the campus community. “Rather than reopening the search, we prevailed upon Bruce to stay in his role. When he took on the interim role, he had made it clear that he wasn’t interested in the position permanently. But fortunately for us, he was willing to reconsider. Not only has he come to enjoy the job, but we’ve come to rely on him. He’s done an outstanding job, and appointing him allows us to continue moving forward without skipping a beat.”
Carney succeeds Bernadette Gray-Little, who left the position last summer to become chancellor of the University of Kansas.
The provost is the University’s top academic officer, with responsibility for the College of Arts and Sciences and 13 professional schools.
Carney came to UNC as an assistant professor, rising to full professor in 1989. He was named Samuel Baron Professor of physics and astronomy in 1994.
He had been a member of the College of Arts and Sciences dean’s senior administrative team since 2004. He was involved in planning for the new physical sciences complex, the largest construction project in the University’s history, and was instrumental in shaping the vision and raising funds for the SOAR Telescope in Chile.
Carney is a scholar of optical and infrared photometry and spectroscopy, stellar populations, and globular cluster ages, with many publications to his credit, including a book, Star Clusters, published in 2001.
Among many other leadership positions in his field, he has served as president of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and chair of the board of directors for the International Gemini Observatory, which is run by a six-nation consortium.
He has served on the congressionally mandated Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee that advises the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Energy Department and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University and his undergraduate degree at the University of California-Berkeley.