Maria J. Vaz was named provost of Lawrence Technological University on July 1, 2006. She retired on June 30, 2020.
Vaz has been one of Lawrence Tech’s most versatile leaders. From February 1 to July 1, 2006 Vaz served as interim provost, and earlier served as associate provost, dean of graduate programs, and interim dean of LTU’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering.
During her tenure Vaz has led and supported the development and implementation of new undergraduate and graduate programs that differentiate Lawrence Tech, including biomedical engineering, architectural engineering, robotics engineering, industrial engineering, chemical biology, molecular and cell biology, media communication, English communication, transportation design, and game art. She established an environment of collaboration and interaction between the academic colleges to generate interdisciplinary academic programs and research. She also oversaw the launch of LTU’s B.S. in nursing program in partnership with St. John Providence.
Vaz also established LTU’s leadership curriculum program required for all undergraduates as well as an initiative on sustainability education. She established Lawrence Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning and the Research Support Service Committee to support faculty development in both teaching and research. In addition she supported the establishment of LTU’s e-Learning office to provide on-line teaching and the expanded use of technology in the classroom.
Vaz has been an advocate of Entrepreneurial Minded Education and she has been the principal investigator (PI) of several institutional Kern Family Foundation grants that are transforming both engineering education and the overall process of education at Lawrence Tech to be problem, project, and research based.
In Enrollment Management Vaz was an early advocate of integration of all student services and the one-stop shop concept, including the programmatic development and implementation of LTU’s A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center.
She expanded LTU’s Student Affairs Division as an important partner in student education. As a result, a dynamic student life, the re-introduction of varsity sports, the support of healthy choices, and the well-being of all students are important components of the integrated student experience and the professional and personal growth of students at LTU.
As associate provost and dean of graduate programs, Vaz led the establishment of University Assessment program, the guidelines for doctoral programs, and in 2001 the development and establishment of the first of three doctoral programs at the University.
Vaz joined the Lawrence Tech faculty in 1984 after completing her doctorate in physics at Kent State University. In 1992 she was named chair of the Department of Natural Sciences and in 1994 became associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1998 she was appointed associate provost and dean of graduate programs.
Vaz also led Lawrence Tech’s preparation team for the North Central Association’s accreditation review effort in 2001 and was an early advocate and leader of the University’s efforts to enhance the teaching of science in primary, middle, and high schools.
Vaz is a trustee of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
She and her husband, Nuno, who also holds a doctorate in physics, have three children.