Krystyn Van Vliet to Succeed Karen Gleason as Associate Provost

August 16, 2017

Dear members of the MIT community,

I am writing to announce some changes in assignments in the office of Associate Provost Karen Gleason. Professor Gleason has informed me that she plans to step down as Associate Provost in June 2018, in order to return to teaching and research in her home department, Chemical Engineering, where she is the Alexander and I. Michael Kasser Professor.  Professor Gleason’s responsibilities have included oversight of space planning, allocation, and renovations across the Institute as well as our industrial engagements, with the latter including oversight of the Industrial Liaison Program/Industrial Relations and the Technology Licensing Office. Professor Gleason has served in this role since 2014, just after I began my term as Provost. In addition to providing excellent and creative leadership in all areas of her responsibility, she has been a highly valued colleague and advisor, both to me personally and as a member of Academic Council.

As part of a phased succession plan, I am also very pleased to announce that Krystyn Van Vliet, the Michael (1949) and Sonja Koerner Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and also Professor of Biological Engineering, has agreed to succeed Professor Gleason as Associate Provost. Professor Van Vliet will begin her new appointment as Associate Provost on September 1, 2017, taking over from Professor Gleason responsibility for space planning, allocation, and renovations during 2017–18, which includes co-chairing the Committee for the Review of Space Planning (CRSP) with Deputy Executive Vice President Anthony Sharon.   

During Professor Gleason’s tenure as Associate Provost, MIT has embarked on the largest set of expansion and renovation projects in Institute history. The Kendall Square Initiative, a major redevelopment project, and the MIT.nano building, currently under construction, are just two notable examples of the numerous capital projects for which Professor Gleason has played a leadership role. In addition, hundreds of renovations, space assignments, leases, and space usage studies, all in the service of continually improving MIT’s research and educational spaces, have taken place during Professor Gleason’s time as CRSP co-chair.

Professor Gleason will continue with her oversight of MIT’s industrial engagements until she steps down in June 2018, focusing on key initiatives for corporate engagement, at which time Professor Van Vliet will assume responsibility for the Associate Provost’s full portfolio.  

Professor Van Vliet earned her Sc.B. in Materials Science & Engineering from Brown University and her Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from MIT, and was appointed to the MIT faculty in 2004. Professor Van Vliet’s research focuses on material chemomechanics: material behavior at the interface of mechanics, chemistry, physics, and biology. Her lab conducts both experimental and computational research, to understand and engineer materials with diverse applications ranging from renewable energy to human cell therapy. Professor Van Vliet serves as Lead Principal Investigator for the BioSystems and Micromechanics Interdisciplinary Research Group within the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), Co-Director of MIT’s Biomedical Engineering Minor, and Director of Manufacturing Innovation within the MIT Innovation Initiative. She has also served as MIT’s co-faculty lead for the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

I am delighted to have the responsibilities of the office of the Associate Provost in excellent hands for the coming year. Please join me in thanking Professor Gleason for her continued service and congratulating Professor Van Vliet on her new role.


Martin A. Schmidt