Judith Langlois

In an interview with The Daily Texan, Gregory Fenves, executive vice president and provost, discussed the goals he will have for the University when he takes office as president in June.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Last month, the University of Texas Board of Regents announced — without much fanfare — the next president of this University: Gregory Fenves, the current provost and executive vice President. This set off a series of falling dominoes, as the University sought to replace the senior administrative post that Fenves would be leaving behind. Soon thereafter, Judith Langlois, the dean of graduate studies and a senior vice provost, was named the interim provost, starting later this month. 

At press time, the University had announced no replacement for Langlois within her school. Since the announcement of Powers’ impending resignation as president, several other high-ranking administrators have stepped down or announced they will step down, including former Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hegarty as well as longtime Vice President for Research Juan Sanchez. These positions will need to be filled with permanent replacements.

These administrative changes have only reassured us that the transition into a new president will be a smooth and seamless one for the University. Outgoing President William Powers, Jr. reportedly appointed Langlois after close consultation with Fenves. Given embattled Regent Wallace Hall’s recent disagreements with Fenves, we are optimistic about his time at the helm of the 40 acres. To put it bluntly, if he is doing something that enrages Hall, then he is probably doing something right.

However, we are reluctant to grant Fenves a blank check considering he has kept a relatively low profile during his time as provost. It’s not enough to anger Hall. Our new president needs to be able to effectively go to war with him and win in a way that Powers did time and again. The new president, provost and other high-ranking officials must also be able to operate effectively under the high-stress and rapidly changing circumstances that come with the jobs.

To the University’s credit, they have made smart choices, but they have done a rather lackluster job at advertising and defending them effectively. In order to best serve the students and broader community here at the 40 acres, both must be done. 

Granted, Langlois may not be offered the prestigious position on a permanent basis, as Powers and Fenves will be conducting a comprehensive search for a permanent provost. Odds are, whoever is selected will be yet another internal promotion. This is not a bad thing; Powers, almost universally lauded by competent parties, was himself an internal promotion. But the University will be short-sighted if each and every position is merely filled by our farm system and not candidates from elsewhere across the country.

Judith Langlois will serve as interim provost

UT President William Powers Jr. announced an interim replacement for Gregory Fenves, provost and executive vice president, who was named UT’s next president earlier this week.

Judith Langlois, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, will serve in the interim provost and executive vice president, while administrators conduct a search for a permanent replacement, according to an email sent by Powers to students, faculty and staff. Langlois will assume the position May 26.

Langlois has served as associate dean and interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and also served as chair of the Presidential Committee on the Status of Non-Tenure Faculty.

In the email announcement, Powers said the search for a permenant replacement for Fenves will begin immediately.

Fenves will begin his term as president June 3.

Vice Provost Judith Langlois will serve as the permanent dean of the UT Graduate School. Langlois, who was appointed Thursday, has served as interim dean of graduate studies since January 2012 and will retain her post as vice provost in addition to her new appointment.

The UT Graduate School is home to more than 100 programs and more than 11,000 graduate students. It is one of the largest Ph.D.-producing institutions in the country, and is frequently ranked as the largest Hispanic Ph.D.-producing graduate school.

Langlois received her Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and went on to join the UT faculty in 1973. She was appointed vice provost in 2007, and then interim dean of the graduate school after former dean Victoria Rodriguez stepped down 18 months ago. Before her time as interim dean of graduate studies, Langlois served once as associate dean and twice as interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts.

“I never learned how to behave like an interim,” Langlois said. “I always approached interim jobs as if we’re [going to] move full steam ahead. In that sense, I don’t think anything will be different in terms of my attitude about moving things forward.”

Langlois was appointed by Provost Gregory Fenves, who said he has received immediate positive feedback from almost every dean at the University about the appointment.

“She has a vision for graduate students,” Fenves said. “She is very caring and approachable … She also worked exceptionally well with the deans of the graduate schools and colleges.”

Both Fenves and Langlois said they are excited to work together in continuing to make the graduate school competitive enough to attract the best graduate students.

“I very much look forward to working with Provost Fenves,” Langlois said. “I think he has a great vision for the University, as does President Powers. Being a part of their leadership team is very exciting, and I really look forward to working with them.”

Columbia Mishra, president of Graduate Student Assembly, has worked with Langlois since she began her tenure as assembly president last year. She said she considers Langlois a very important collaborator with the assembly.

“She definitely cares for graduate student needs,” Mishra said. “She’s a very good coach. She gives good feedback to us as we reach toward different goals … She has a good vision and passion for graduate students and graduate studies.”

Langlois said she is looking forward to taking graduate programs to the next level of excellence. Her plans to move forward include enhancing graduate school career services and creating more informative benchmarking measures. Langlois said that by providing professional development workshops and career counseling to graduate students, she hopes to inform corporate America about the wealth of talent she believes UT graduate students have. According to Langlois, creating better benchmarking measures will involve implementing external reviews to assess strengths and weaknesses of graduate programs.

“I’m excited,” Langlois said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Vice Provost Judith Langlois has been appointed permanent dean of the Graduate School, as announced today. Langois has served as interim dean of graduate studies since January 2012.

Langlois, who is executive vice president and Provost Gregory Fenves' first appointment, will also continue to serve as vice provost.

In addition to her experience as interim dean of graduate studies, Langlois also served once as associate dean and twice as interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts.

“I never learned how to behave like an interim,” Langlois said. “I always approached interim jobs as if we’re gonna move full steam ahead. In that sense, I don’t think anything will be different in terms of my attitude about moving things forward.”

Langlois said she is looking forward to taking graduate programs to the next level of excellence. Plans to move forward include enhancing graduate school career services and creating more informative benchmarking measures.

“I’m excited,” Langlois said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Vice Provost Judith Langlois has been appointed permanent dean of UT Graduate School, as announced today. Langlois has served as interim dean of graduate studies since January 2012.

Langlois, who is executive vice president and provost Gregory Fenves' first appointment, will continue to serve as vice provost as well as permanent dean.

In addition to her experience as interim dean of graduate studies, Langlois once served as associate dean and twice as interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts.

“I never learned how to behave like an interim,” Langlois said. “I always approached interim jobs as if we’re gonna move full steam ahead. In that sense, I don’t think anything will be different in terms of my attitude about moving things forward.”

Langlois said she is looking forward to taking graduate programs to the next level of excellence. Plans to move forward include enhancing graduate school career services and creating more informative benchmarking measures.

“I’m excited,” Langlois said. “I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Top five quotes from UT's graduation ceremonies

1. The Ten Commandments: College Edition

Senator Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, spoke at the College of Liberal Arts convocation ceremony Friday. Seliger delivered what he called the college edition of the Bible's Ten Commandment's in his speech. 

"The last supper would be pizza and cola the next morning," Seliger said. He added later that "there would have to be a new edition of the Ten Commandments every two years to limit reselling." 

2. Doctors, don't do anything stupid

Graduate Studies dean Judith Langlois delivered the commencement address at UT's master's and doctoral convocations Saturday morning. Langlois stressed that with their degrees, students would be able to change the world. There are disadvantages though, she said.

"For the rest of your life, the next time you do anything stupid someone will sure to point out you have a doctorate," Langlois said.

3. You're not breaking up with UT

UT's alumni organization, the Texas Exes, ordered 900 bottles of champagne so graduates could toast to the future at its two-day event, the Great Texas Exit.

"Your connection with University isn't over. You're kind of starting a new chapter being an alumni," said Katie Lauck, campus relations coordinator for the Texas Exes. "We want to welcome you into the new family."  

4. You don't mess with someone's graduation

University Event coordinates official UT programs and community events, including graduation and Explore UT. UT staff have been physically setting up for graduation since April 8, when they set up the bleachers in front of the UT Tower.

"There are three events you don't mess with in people's lives - their wedding, their funeral and their graduation," said Susan Threadgill, production director for University Events.

5. No such thing as luck

Stan Richards, founder of the Richards Group, one of the largest independent advertising agencies nationwide, said people should not get discouraged if they're not the best in their class. Students can be successful even if they're not the best talent if they work hard, he said. 

"I don't believe in luck. You get what you earn," Richards said.

With the goal of promoting equal opportunity for UT’s faculty, mechanical engineering vice provost and professor Janet Ellzey has been chosen to oversee gender equity issues at the University.

Taking over for Judith Langlois, Ellzey will now be in charge of all institutional issues related to faculty gender equity as the new chair of the Gender Council. Ellzey said her responsibilities will include working with department chairs and other leaders throughout the University to analyze compensation and to help develop strategies for providing a positive environment for the entire faculty.

Ellzey said as a woman in mechanical engineering she has always been interested in gender equity and in providing mentorship to female students and faculty.

“I was delighted when Provost [Steven] Leslie asked me to take on gender equity at the university level, and I look forward to working with him and other campus leaders on this important issue,” Ellzey said.

Langlois has overseen gender equity issues since appointed in 2007, but she has stepped down to take on new duties as interim dean of the school of graduate studies.

Ellzey will retain her responsibilities as vice provost for international programs at UT as well as her teaching load in the engineering department.

According to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost’s website, the Gender Council meets regularly to discuss and consult gender issues at UT.

The committee is there to aid faculty with any personal and family issues they might have throughout their time serving UT, according to the Gender Council’s website.

Ellzey said she believes the addition of these new obligations will not cause any strain.

“Since my appointment to that position [assistant dean for international engineering education] in 2009, I have been on a reduced teaching load in my department, and I have been able to balance my administrative, teaching and research activities,” Ellzey said. “I am optimistic that I will continue to be able to balance this larger portfolio of responsibilities.”

Business sophomore Sarah Taqvi said she looks at Ellzey’s achievements with admiration.

“She serves as an inspiration for any female pursuing a career in a male-dominated world,” Taqvi said.

Taqvi said she is personally motivated to work harder to be successful in the business field because there is a natural competitiveness against the men in the field, and it is great to see someone like Ellzey maintain a high position at the University.

According to her online biography, Ellzey has had a history of involvement in gender equity in her own field.

Ellzey chaired the Women in Engineering Program Committee in the Cockrell School of Engineering from 2002 to 2007. She also currently serves as the faculty mentor for Women in Mechanical Engineering in the department of mechanical engineering.

Printed on Monday, February 13, 2012 as: New chair for UT Gender Council

Victoria Rodriguez, the University’s vice provost and dean of graduate studies, is stepping down after nine years in the role and returning to the LBJ School of Public Affairs as a professor and researcher.

In a letter to his colleagues, executive vice president and provost Steven Leslie announced Rodriguez’s departure and named vice provost Judith Langlois as interim dean. In the letter, Leslie praised Rodriguez’s work in building partnerships with academic deans and her fundraising efforts to support the graduate school. Rodriguez will continue her work at the university at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, furthering her research and teaching in the areas of women in politics and public policy, said Gretchen Ritter, vice provost for undergraduate education and faculty governance.

Ritter said Rodriguez’s 11-year service in the central administration department, nine of which were spent as dean, was successful and goal oriented but also very demanding.

“It is not at all unusual that someone there for that long would want to return to focus primarily on teaching and research after an extended period of service,” she said.

John Dalton, graduate studies assistant dean, said Rodriguez helped raise millions of dollars for graduate student support during the capital campaign and created the 1910 Society, an organization focused on philanthropy and alumni connections.

“She’s been really open to communications with other deans and students,” Dalton said. “All the communication we do has been totally reorganized to better communicate with graduate students and faculty.”

Langlois was an obvious choice for interim dean because of her position of vice provost and because she formerly served as interim dean of liberal arts, Ritter said.

“[Langlois] is a very engaged graduate instructor and mentor,” Ritter said. “She’s someone well-suited to play the role of interim dean.”

Ritter also said the cooperation between Rodriguez and Langlois will help create a smooth transition for the new interim dean.

“Dr. Langlois and Dr. Rodriguez have worked together extensively in the past,” Ritter said, “and I know they have been working very strongly in the last week or two in transition issues, and that’s going extremely well.”

Executive provost assistant Janet Hart said a search committee will be formed in the fall to select a new dean.

Graduate Student Assembly president Manuel Gonzalez said Rodriguez’s dedication and commitment to students will be remembered.

“Dean Rodriguez has always been willing to commit resources, time and effort to advance graduate student issues on campus,” he said. “GSA is losing a great advocate for graduate students, but at the same time, we’re looking forward to working with interim dean Langlois.”  

Printed on Friday, January 20, 2011 as: Graduate studies dean returns to teach, research

Two years after a UT task force told chief administrators how to ease the pay gap between male and female faculty, about 59 percent of the UT’s academic core and athletics salary payouts go to half the workforce — the male half.

Though women make up 48 percent of all UT faculty and staff, they earn about 41 percent of the total salary payout, leaving an 18-percent pay gap between male and female UT faculty and staff.

Female full professors make an average of $120,000, while their male counterparts make an average of $134,000 — but there are large disparities between and within different academic departments.

In 2008, the Gender Equity Task Force, a commission created to report on the work environment for female employees at UT, including pay disparity, made several recommendations about how to decrease the gap among faculty.

The official overseeing the implementation of those recommendations, Vice Provost Judith Langlois, said women have gotten higher percent raises since 2008, but many raises aimed at reducing the pay gap will have to wait because of the sluggish economy.

“The whole economy is slowing down the effort to reduce the gap,” Langlois said. “This is not just a one year, ‘Oh, let’s throw some money at it’ and it will go away.”

The Gender Equity Task Force recommended creating alternative criteria for awarding faculty raises, prioritizing intellectual diversity in hiring faculty, recording all tenure cases with the Office of Information Management and Analysis and creating committees to oversee how colleges are making faculty jobs more equitable.

Langlois said the college committees are currently looking at individual units and determining whether some faculty are underpaid.

“That’s not something we can decide at the provost level,” she said. “In the particle physics department, I can’t evaluate whether their highly technical work is moving the field forward. But can people in the physics department tell? Yes.”

The council is currently evaluating the ways faculty productivity is measured across departments so it can address the criteria that departments use to dole out raises, said Jennifer Wilks, an associate English professor and a member of the College of Liberal Art’s Gender Council.

Within academic departments, the disparity between male and female faculty salaries highlights the gender pay gap prevalent across campus.

In the College of Liberal Arts, departments as different as English and Economics have varied gender pay gaps and number of female faculty. In Economics, there is only one female full professor, while there are six in English.

The number of male and female professors is about even in the educational psychology department, but men make an average of $95,000 while female full professors made an average of $84,000. Educational psychology professor Marilla Svinicki said if starting salaries are unequal, most raises are going to be unequal because they are based on the percentage of the salary. Svinicki said she earns money from writing books and keeps her costs lower than the average child-rearing woman, but her salary would be an issue if not for those things.

“I think it’s true for my female colleagues who have children,” she said. “It’s a real problem because they have day care expenses, but they’re getting less money. Women tend to bear the bulk of any child-care expenses.”

Educational psychology professor Diane Schallert said the real injustice is differences in salaries between departments. For example, the education and some liberal arts professors are paid much less than in engineering, Schallert said. Faculty in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction within the College of Education prepare future teachers at schools, but are paid less for harder work, she said.

“They work really hard, and they’re in the schools because they believe in the system of training teachers out there in the schools,” she said. “It’s way harder work than some people do, so I don’t understand why they aren’t being paid the same.”

Researchers have found that sexual discrimination plays a role in gender pay gaps across several fields.

Anthony Carnevale, a Georgetown University education professor, said when researchers control for all possible factors, such as age and choice of career, there is still at least a 10-percent pay disparity between men and women across different fields. Carnevale said he can only attribute the disparity to discrimination.

Associate communication professor Dana Cloud said sexual discrimination is one of history’s holdovers from a bygone era but still inhabits UT and many other institutions. The short-term University efforts to reduce the pay gap have not been effective, she said.

“It could discourage women from coming here, and it certainly discourages women who are already here who are saying I’ve been here as long, I work as hard and my evaluations are strong [as men] and yet I’m not making as much money as my male peers,” Cloud said.