A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

New Leaders Shepherd Growth at UC Merced

September 24, 2014

The fall semester is in full swing. There are many new faces on campus, and we’re not just talking about students.

Since the end of the 2014 spring semester, several key campus leadership positions have been filled. As Chancellor Dorothy Leland mentioned in her recent campus update, a number of initiatives already underway will see much progress over the coming year.

The efforts – from academic-focusing to strategic workforce planning – are part of a collective effort to bring UC Merced to its next phase of development needed to accommodate 10,000 students.

With so much change in the air, we thought it would be a good idea to recap some of the most significant additions and changes that have occurred since the end of last May:

Veronica Mendez joined the campus in late August as assistant vice chancellor, Planning and Budget. Mendez leads the development of UC Merced’s long-term financial planning and analysis. Before joining UC Merced, Mendez worked for the University of Texas, Brownsville, where she served in a variety of roles, most recently as that campus’s associate vice president for business affairs.



Donna Jones came onboard this month as assistant vice chancellor, Finance. She oversees operations in the Campus Budget Office and Capital Finance. She also provides leadership for operating and capital budget committees and ensures campus processes are integrated within the context of the all-funds budget. Jones, who’s been with the UC for 30 years, has varied experience in accounting, budget administration and contracts and grants.


Luanna Putney was appointed associate chancellor and senior advisor to the chancellor in August. She took over the reins as the campus’s chief ethics and compliance officer and locally designated official. Her duties including handling California Public Records Act and Information Practices Act requests and EEO/AA/Title IX/Sexual Harassment compliance. Putney spent six years at the UC Office of the President where she served as executive director of ethics and compliance. She also was a key member of the leadership team that developed and implemented the UC’s first ethics and compliance program in 2008.


Abigail Rider started in July as assistant vice chancellor, Real Estate Services, and will lead the Real Estate Services Group. In her role, she’ll provide executive leadership across all aspects of the 2020 Project, including managing the development of the physical framework and financial plan, procurement and external relations. From 2007 to 2013, Rider served as associate vice president and director for university properties at Yale University. There, she oversaw the acquisition of more than 40 acres of land around the Yale campus and 1 million square feet of buildings, among other responsibilities.


Peter Schuerman joined the campus in June as associate vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development, filling the position formerly held by Rich Miller, who retired last year. Schuerman oversees UC Merced’s technology commercialization efforts and industrial relations program. Formerly known as the Office of Technology Transfer and now the Office of Business Development, the office is designed to help researchers reach their goals related to economic development and job creation, so they can maintain their focus on excellence in research and education.


Marjorie Zatz came on board in July as vice provost and dean of Graduate Education. She works with deans, faculty and staff members to promote the success of our graduate students and build UC Merced’s graduate programs with an eye toward the goals of the 2020 Project. Before UC Merced, Zatz served as program director of the Law and Social Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation. She was also program officer for Interdisciplinary Behavioral and Social Sciences and Graduate Research Fellowship programs. Before that, Zatz held a faculty position at Arizona State University as a professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation.

Gregg Camfield was named interim vice provost for the faculty in August. The position was recently converted from part time to full time. The vice provost for the faculty fills dual responsibilities – guiding Academic Senate members through the UC’s detailed processes for professional advancement and developing comprehensive mentoring processes to help new faculty enjoy successful careers at UC Merced. Camfield has been with the campus since 2007. He fills the role on an interim basis while a search to fill the position is expected to re-launch next year.

Erik Rolland was appointed interim dean of the School of Engineering in August after Dan Hirleman departed for Purdue University. Rolland is a professor of management and engineering within the Ernest & Julio Gallo Management Program and the School of Engineering. Before UC Merced, Rolland held faculty positions at the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UC Riverside and the Fisher School of Business at Ohio State University in Columbus. He was the inaugural director of the University of California’s Heckmann International Center of Entrepreneurial Management in Palm Desert. He also served as both department chair and associate dean at UC Riverside’s Anderson Graduate School of Management.

Andrew “Andy” Boyd was named executive director of the UC Merced’s Project Management Services. The new service center will be a one-stop shop for the campus’s project and change management initiatives — including capital projects and strategic and operational initiatives. The center will also provide portfolio management and will operate with a small core staff of change management, project management and business analysis experts. Before his new role, Boyd served as director of operations for Design and Construction.