After a nationwide search, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Chaouki Abdallah has announced the selection of four finalists for the position of Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

The finalists include: Vishwanath Prasad, University of North Texas; Richard Billo, University of Texas-Arlington; Morris Foster, University of Oklahoma-Norman; and Timothy Ford, University of New England.

"These finalists were selected from a large pool of candidates for the position, which included many well-qualified individuals," Abdallah said. "Dr. Barbara McCrady and the search committee have done an excellent job identifying these finalists and I look forward to their visits to campus."

The four finalists will each speak at an open forum where members of the UNM community will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the search committee.

The schedule for the open forums are as follows:

  • Vishwanath Prasad - Monday, March 18, 2 p.m., Student Union Ballroom A

  • Richard Billo - Thursday, March 21, 2:30 p.m., Student Union Ballroom A

  • Morris Foster - Monday, April 8, 2 p.m., Student Union Santa Ana A&B;

  • Timothy Ford - Thursday, April 11, 2 p.m., Student Union Ballroom A

Candidate biographies...
Vishawanath Prasad
Vishwanath Prasad
Open Forum: Monday, March 18, 2 p.m., Student Union Ballroom A

Dr. Vish Prasad is the Professor of Mechanical and Energy Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at University of North Texas (UNT). From 2007 to 2012, Dr. Prasad served UNT as its Vice President for Research and Economic Development (VPRED).

His prior experiences include academic, administrative, and leadership positions as assistant and associate professor at Columbia University (1984-1992), professor, leading professor, and associate dean of engineering at Stony Brook University – State University of New York (1993-2001), and dean of engineering, executive dean of engineering and computing, and distinguished professor at Florida International University (FIU, 2001-2007).

Richard Billo
Richard Billo
Open Forum: Thursday, March 21, 2:30 p.m., Student Union Ballroom A

Billo is the Interim Associate Vice President for Research for the University of Texas at Arlington. In this role, he is responsible for the growth and expansion of seven Organized Research Centers of Excellence, the university's federal relations program, technology transfer and economic development.

Previously, Dr. Billo held several academic administrative roles including Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering, Department Head of Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, and Department Head of Chemical and Bioengineering.

Morris Foster
Morris Foster
Open Forum: Monday, April 8, 2 p.m., Student Union Santa Ana A&B;

Foster received a BA from the University of Oklahoma in 1981 and went on to graduate work in anthropology at Yale University, earning an MPhil in 1984 and a Ph.D. in 1988.

Dr. Foster's initial research was in ethnohistory and ethnography, publishing Being Comanche: A Social History of an American Indian Community in 1991, which won the 1992 Erminie Wheeler-Voeglin Prize as the best book in ethnohistory from the American Society for Ethnohistory.

Timothy Ford
Timothy Ford
Open Forum: Thursday, April 11, 2 p.m., Student Union Ballroom A

Ford currently serves as Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Public Health and Interim Dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions at the University of New England (UNE). When he first came to UNE it was as Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies, discussed in his application letter. Prior to coming to UNE, he served for six years as department head of microbiology at Montana State University (MSU).

When he accepted the position, the department was in need of strong leadership. Building the department required hiring new faculty, developing new curricula, raising funding for scholarships and for extensive renovations of aging laboratories. During his tenure, Ford has hired seven new faculty members to the department, supported innovative changes in the department's curriculum, and saw steady increases in both undergraduate and graduate student enrollment.

For each candidate's full bio, click on their name above. To view their curriculum vitae, visit, Search for the UNM Vice President for Research and Economic Development and click on the respective CV link for each candidate.