Dr. Susan Alexander has been named interim vice president for academic affairs at the University of St. Thomas, it was announced by Dr. Judith Dwyer, executive vice president.

Alexander, a former Professor of the Year who has worn many hats in her 20-year-career at St. Thomas, will begin her new duties on Aug. 1.

Dr. Ralph Pearson, vice president for academic affairs since 1992, is leaving St. Thomas to become provost and vice president for academic affairs at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. He starts there Aug. 15.

An associate professor, Alexander joined the economics faculty in 1981 and chaired that department from 1987 t0 1992. She was acting dean of the undergraduate College for the academic year 1993-1994, and this past year has been interim associate vice president for academic affairs.

In an unusual tie vote, she and Dr. Michael Jordan, English Department, each received the 1997 Professor of the Year award. Given annually since 1961, the award recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and inspiration to students.

“Dr. Alexander is a well-respected scholar, professor and administrator,” Dwyer said. “She will bring extraordinary leadership to her new role, continuing the fine work of Dr. Pearson.”

Pearson also is pleased with Alexander’s appointment.

“She is an excellent choice,” he said. “With her background as a faculty member, department chair, and acting dean, her work on faculty affairs and governance issues, and her experience this past year as interim associate vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Alexander understands the mission of St. Thomas and how the graduate and undergraduate divisions implement that mission.”

Alexander received her master’s and doctorate in economics from Southern Methodist University. She taught there and at the University of Iowa before coming to St. Thomas.