Dr. Liesl Folks is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Arizona. She is the chief academic officer of the university and oversees all academic programs, faculty affairs, student affairs, as well as libraries, Arizona Global, Arizona Online, and student support services. She is also a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Prior to joining the University of Arizona, Dr. Folks served as dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Buffalo (UB) where she built a reputation as a champion for expanding access for women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering disciplines. At UB, Dr. Folks led rapid growth of the engineering school including the addition of 75 faculty and 2,700 students, growth in research expenditures of 35%, and the creation of two new academic departments, leading to impressive increases in ranking and reputation. As an internationally recognized expert in the fields of magnetic materials and devices, nanoscale metrology, and spin-electronic devices, Dr. Folks holds 14 U.S. patents and has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed papers. She serves on numerous boards and committees, and in 2020 served as the chair congressionally mandated National Academies Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Prior to joining UB, she spent 16 years working in research and development laboratories in Silicon Valley in California, including at IBM Almaden Research Center, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Western Digital.
Dr. Folks earned a master’s degree in business administration from Cornell University and completed both a doctorate and Bachelor of Science (Honours) degrees in physics from The University of Western Australia.