June 12, 2023
Rima Franklin named interim vice provost of VCU Life Sciences
Franklin, who will continue to serve as chair of the Department of Biology, joined the VCU faculty in 2007.
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Rima Franklin, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biology in Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Humanities and Sciences, will serve as interim vice provost of VCU Life Sciences, effective July 1, 2023. Franklin also serves as affiliate faculty at the Rice Rivers Center. She will continue to serve in her role as chair of the Department of Biology alongside this new appointment.
“It's a pleasure to congratulate Dr. Rima Franklin and thank her for agreeing to serve as the interim vice provost of VCU Life Sciences,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Rima is an accomplished researcher, educator and administrator. I am confident in her ability to lead Life Sciences during this period of transition and strategic repositioning of the VCU academic enterprise toward an even more impactful future for the benefit of our students and communities we serve.”
Franklin has experience in academic leadership, research and teaching. She joined VCU in 2007 as assistant professor of biology and was promoted to full professor in 2023. In 2018, she served as interim chair of the Department of Forensic Science. For the past year, she has served as chair of the Department of Biology.
“I’m honored to serve the university in this capacity,” Franklin said. “I look forward to working with senior leadership, faculty, staff, and students in the diverse units to define and implement a vision for the future of Life Sciences. I am especially excited to facilitate collaborations with other units working across the spectrum of biological sciences to create new opportunities that further elevate VCU’s teaching and research excellence in this field.”
Franklin’s research interests are in the areas of microbial ecology, wetland and soil biogeochemistry, nitrogen cycling, and environmental and public health microbiology. She has received more than $5 million in research funding; presented her research at conferences throughout the world; and published more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, books and chapters. Also a passionate teacher, Franklin has received several teaching-related grants, including an NSF Research Initiation Grant and a BeCKIS Bermuda Biodiversity Project grant, each of which focused on K-12 student participation on the study and preservation of microbial communities in caves.
Franklin also serves as subject editor and associate editor, respectively, for Soil Biology & Biochemistry and Frontiers in Microbiology; and is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, the International Society for Microbial Ecology, the Ecological Society of America, the American Geophysical Union, and the Society of Wetland Scientists.
Franklin earned a B.A. in biology from Bard College and a Ph.D. in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia.
Rob Tombes, Ph.D., has served as vice provost of VCU Life Sciences over the past seven years. Tombes will return to the faculty in the Department of Biology at VCU and continue his research.
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