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Eric Overström Named Provost
March 22, 2017
Eric W. Overström, Ph.D., a Fulbright Scholar and award-winning teacher and administrator in STEM education, has been named senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Wentworth Institute of Technology, President Zorica Pantić announced today.
The provost is the chief academic officer at the Institute and oversees all educational matters and activities, including operations and initiatives pertaining to academic and research personnel.
“Wentworth is on a steady, upward trajectory,” Pantić said, “and we look forward to drawing from Dr. Overström’s considerable knowledge and experience in higher education as the institute moves ahead.”
Pantić said Overström’s background makes him particularly well suited for Wentworth’s progressive focus and status as a leader in engineering, technology, design, and management education.
Overström, who assumes the new role in July, was drawn to Wentworth by “the forward-looking determination of the Institute’s senior leadership, the quality of the faculty and students, and palpable sense of progress on campus,” he said. “I am thrilled to be part of that.”
Overström has worked in academia for 30 years, in engineering, technology, life sciences, health education, and innovation and entrepreneurship. From 2010 to 2015, he served as the provost and senior vice president of the Division of Academic Affairs at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. During his tenure as provost there, Overström steered the growth and diversification of undergraduate and graduate programs in robotics, engineering, data science, systems engineering, cybersecurity, and bioinformatics.
He led the recruitment of more than 120 new faculty members at WPI and the onboarding of three new academic deans, and oversaw the doubling of the university’s research enterprise. Additionally, Overström spurred investment in WPI’s multidisciplinary, project-centered curriculum, and expanded global project centers for student engagement and experiential learning.
With WPI’s academic deans and vice presidents, he championed the development of new collaborations with key industry and academic partners to establish student fellowships and internships. Working with WPI’s president and the University Advancement Office, Overström executed an institutional strategy that resulted in more than $7 million in global philanthropic support for students and faculty initiatives, and $37 million for academic programs.
Overström joined WPI in 2004 as the head of the Department of Biology and Biotechnology and professor of biology, after more than 20 years on the faculty at Tufts University Schools of Medicine. He is a developmental biologist by training whose research has investigated the cell/molecular biology of mammalian eggs and embryos, animal transgenics, somatic cell cloning, and assisted reproductive technologies through sponsored funding from federal and corporate sources.
Overström has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York at Oswego, and a master’s and doctorate in reproductive physiology/developmental biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Physiology and Biophysics.
He has received several awards, including the Tufts University President’s Award for Outstanding Achievement and the Lauro F. Cavazos Award for Teaching Excellence. He has published extensively in leading journals and is a member of several scientific societies.
A resident of Grafton, Mass., Overström was chosen after a comprehensive national search. He replaces Richard Hansen, who has served as the interim vice president for academic affairs and provost since June 2015.
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