UAB names Janet Woodruff-Borden senior vice president and provost

Woodruff-Borden will join UAB on Feb. 1 from the University of Oregon, where she has served as interim provost and executive vice president for the past 15 months.

img Janet Woodruff Borden 8201Janet Woodruff-Borden, Ph.D.Janet Woodruff-Borden, Ph.D., has been named senior vice president of Academic Affairs and provost at the University of Alabama at Birmingham following a national search.

Woodruff-Borden will join UAB from the University of Oregon, where she most recently served as interim provost and executive vice president for 15 months. She will now lead UAB’s education mission as the chief academic officer and play a crucial role in supporting the university’s mission and the soon-to-launch updated strategic plan, Forging Ahead.

In her role as interim provost and executive vice president at the University of Oregon — and in her previous role at Oregon as executive vice provost for academic affairs — Woodruff-Borden led initiatives on three key fronts: interdisciplinary initiatives focused on the environment, child and adolescent behavioral health, and sport and wellness; student success initiatives to address equity gaps; and inclusive excellence across the academic portfolio. Woodruff-Borden also helped in the development and implementation of UO’s Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, which included a $425 million private gift.

Woodruff-Borden steered the University of Oregon’s work to promote and advance the provost office’s work in curricular development and approval, program review and accreditation, faculty professional development, inclusive teaching, online and hybrid education, and employee and labor relations matters.

As dean and provost of the University of Oregon’s graduate school, Woodruff-Borden fostered interdisciplinary relationships to help the program grow. She improved processes for how her team interfaced with and supported graduate programs within the university’s schools and colleges. She also advanced several initiatives, including development of best practices in graduate recruitment and admissions, professional development, data-informed decision making, and university graduate education policies.

The senior vice president of Academic Affairs and provost search was led by an 18-member committee that represented students, faculty, staff and administrators from across campus. The national search was supported by WittKieffer, an executive search firm with higher education expertise. 

“I want to thank each member of the search committee for their dedication to this process, and particularly our co-chairs, School of Optometry Dean Kelly Nichols and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration Brian Burnett,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “I also appreciate all the feedback our campus community provided after each candidate’s visit to campus that included several meetings and a public presentation. Together, we have identified an SVP and provost more than capable of building on the tremendous momentum our academic enterprise and university continues to advance. Dr. Woodruff-Borden has a long and distinguished record of scholarly and academic achievement, and I am excited to welcome her to UAB.” 

“The committee saw great interest from a number of impressive and accomplished candidates from across the country,” Nichols said. “Our broad committee, representative of our campus community, reviewed an incredibly strong applicant pool. I want to thank Dr. Burnett for his partnership in leading this committee, as well as everyone who interviewed our candidates, attended presentations, and provided valuable feedback.”

In addition to Woodruff-Borden’s leadership roles, she is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, and she studies the developmental psychopathology of anxiety. She has extensive published research in the field, and she has mentored 35 doctoral and hundreds of undergraduate students. Woodruff-Borden said their success is core to her identity as a faculty member and will continue to inform her work at UAB as provost.  

“UAB is a flourishing institution where education, research, and innovation are thriving, and I could not be more excited to lead the academic mission of this institution,” Woodruff-Borden said. “Throughout the search process, I saw how students, faculty, and staff are contributing to UAB’s impressive growth, prominence, and impact. It is evident that UAB is a place of ambitious goals with a clear commitment to enrich society and improve well-being through education, research, and patient care. I look forward to joining this outstanding campus community and working toward achieving our mission.”

Woodruff-Borden received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University and her master’s and doctorate degrees from Virginia Tech. She also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in clinical psychology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. Woodruff-Borden held academic appointments in her 28 years at the University of Louisville, including assistant, associate, and full professorships in psychological and brain sciences. She also served in coordinator, director, and associate dean roles at Louisville before joining the University of Oregon as a professor of psychology and vice provost and dean of the graduate school in 2018. Woodruff-Borden became executive vice provost for academic affairs at UO in 2019 and interim provost and executive vice president in 2022.

Woodruff-Borden will succeed current Provost Pam Benoit, who will retire in December. Woodruff-Borden’s first day at UAB will be Feb. 1, 2024. Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Michelle Robinson will serve as the interim provost from Dec. 22-Jan. 31.

The financial terms of the appointment remain subject to approval by The Board of Trustees.