Katherine Baicker, the Emmett Dedmon Professor and dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, has been appointed the next provost of the University of Chicago, effective March 20. Baicker succeeds Provost Ka Yee C. Lee, who will transition into the role of executive vice president for strategic initiatives.

Dean Katherine Baicker

President Paul Alivisatos announced Baicker’s appointment in a Jan. 30 message to the University community, in which he noted Baicker’s deep knowledge of the University and her experience leading innovative change.

“As provost, she will act as a curator, champion and defender of academic excellence across the University,” Alivisatos wrote in the message. “She will commit her efforts toward upholding the University’s distinctive culture and values, supporting scholarship and teaching, and collaborating with deans and other University leaders to most effectively engage the opportunities before the University.”

“I look forward to working in partnership with President Alivisatos and the entire UChicago community.”

—Katherine Baicker

Alivisatos highlighted the “tremendous contributions” Baicker has made to Harris since becoming dean in 2017. Under her leadership, the student body has grown three-fold, while becoming more selective. The school has increased the ranks of tenure-track faculty, strengthened key areas such as energy and environmental policy and urban policy, and introduced curricular innovation across multiple degrees. As a leader in diversity and inclusion efforts, Baicker launched a process that resulted in the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap

“I am deeply honored to be asked to serve the University of Chicago as provost,” Baicker said. “I look forward to working in partnership with President Alivisatos and the entire UChicago community as we continue to honor our core institutional values, uphold our traditions of free and open inquiry, and invest in training new generations of leaders, pursuing rigorous scholarship, and engaging communities near and far.”

Baicker’s career has spanned roles across academia, as well as state and national government. Prior to coming to UChicago, she was the C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, with a dual appointment at the Harvard Kennedy School. With experience informing and developing health policy, she also has served as a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

A leading expert in the economic analysis of health policy, Baicker focuses her scholarship on public and private health insurance, including examining its distribution and effectiveness. Her widely regarded research projects, including the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment—a randomized evaluation of the effects of Medicaid coverage—have been impactful for policymakers across the nation.

An elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Baicker also has lent her expertise to a number of boards and panels, including the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisers; the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission; as a trustee of the Mayo Clinic; and on the board of directors of Eli Lilly. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University and her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

This story originally appeared at UChicago News.