Aswani K. Volety, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Aswani Volety joined Elon University as provost and vice president for academic affairs in September 2019 after serving five years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and executive director of the Center for Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is an accomplished and prolific scholar and experienced leader in higher education who has built a record of academic excellence throughout his career.
As dean at UNCW, Volety served as chief academic, fiscal and administrative officer for the college that comprises more than 10,000 students and 26 departments across the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. He guided the implementation of several new programs, including a doctoral program in psychology, a bachelor’s degree program in digital arts, a Master of Fine Arts program in filmmaking and a master’s program in data science. He also spearheaded the approval of UNCW’s first engineering program, Coastal Engineering, which starts in fall 2019. He expanded the number of experiential learning opportunities, funded faculty development initiatives, developed a number of partnerships with international universities and increased the college’s fundraising efforts.
Volety has been successful in gaining substantial external funding for academic program growth at UNCW and he is a strong advocate for community engagement. He chaired a university-wide task force that provided a roadmap for the university’s community engagement efforts and led to the creation of a new associate vice chancellor for community engagement position. He is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion and during his tenure at UNCW, 60 percent of the faculty hires were either female or minority candidates.
Before joining UNCW, Volety spent 15 years as professor of marine science and later as interim dean for the College of Arts & Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. He completed the re-organization of the college to provide strategic focus to departments and promoted shared governance between faculty and administrators. He worked with the Office of Research and Graduate studies to provide funding for arts, humanities and social science for special projects, and seed money for grant and professional development for faculty across the college. Volety also taught graduate and undergraduate level courses, served as director of FGCU’s Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station and was chair of the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences for six years.
A native of India, Volety is passionate about creating international collaborations and partnerships among institutions of higher learning and communities across the globe. At UNCW, he organized the first Global Marine Science Summit in 2017 focusing on climate change and coastal resiliency. He routinely collaborates on scholarly work with colleagues from academic and scientific institutions in Spain, India, Korea, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia and France, where he participated in a Fulbright International Education Administrator Seminar after receiving a Fulbright Program award.
Volety’s research expertise includes marine organism diseases, physiology, immunopathology, toxicology, and the management and restoration of marine habitats. Specifically, his research focuses on how natural (e.g. salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, algal biotoxins) and anthropogenic (e.g. heavy metals, pesticides and polyaromatic hydrocarbons) stressors affect shellfish. He has more than 100 presentations to his credit in various national and international meetings in addition to nearly 75 peer-reviewed publications.
Volety holds a doctorate degree in marine science from the School of Marine Science at College of William & Mary, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in zoology from Andhra University in Visakhapatnam, India. He and wife Ai Ning Loh have two children, Uma and Mia.