Sarah Covert named associate vice president for faculty affairs at UGA

Sarah Covert

New position created to maximize support that faculty receive

Athens, Ga. – Sarah Covert, a veteran University of Georgia faculty member and administrator, has been named the institution’s first associate vice president for faculty affairs.

Covert has served as interim director of the Office of Faculty Affairs since January and is a professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. In her new role, she will report directly to Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten, who elevated the position of director of the Office of Faculty Affairs to the associate vice president level as part of a broader effort to increase the support and services that faculty receive.

As associate vice president for faculty affairs, Covert will serve as a member of the provost’s administrative team and will work closely with deans, department heads and other administrators on matters related to faculty personnel. She will continue to oversee the Office of Faculty Affairs and its role in managing UGA’s promotion and tenure process while also expanding the training and development programs it offers and partnering with the Office of Institutional Diversity to enhance the recruitment of diverse faculty.

“With the appointment of Dr. Covert to the position of associate vice president for faculty affairs, this institution is poised to take the level of service and support it provides to faculty to an even higher level,” Whitten said. “As someone who rose through the faculty ranks and has excelled as an administrator, she brings a wealth of experience and an exciting vision to this new position.”

As associate dean for academic affairs in the Warnell School, a position she held from 2009-2014, Covert served as its promotion and tenure unit head and also oversaw student services and instructional programs for undergraduate and graduate students. The recruitment of diverse students became an area of focus for the Warnell School under her leadership, and she oversaw instructional performance evaluations for faculty as well as graduate assistantship funds.

Covert has served on several university-wide committees related to curriculum, instructional support, international education, program review and strategic planning. She chaired the university’s program review and assessment committee from 2012-2013 and served on the University Curriculum Committee of University Council from 2009-2014. She has served on the advisory board of the Office of International Education and currently serves on the university’s Strategic Planning Committee.

In the 2013-2014 academic year, she served as a Fellow of the Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program and also was a Center for Teaching and Learning Writing Fellow. In addition, she has been a Center for Teaching and Learning Lilly Teaching Fellow and a Senior Teaching Fellow. She has held courtesy appointments in the genetics and plant biology departments in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and in the plant pathology department in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She was recognized for outstanding instruction at UGA’s 2003 Honors Day ceremony.

Covert has garnered nearly $6 million in external funding for her research on economically and ecologically significant fungal pathogens, and her journal articles have been cited nearly 3,800 times. She also holds a patent for transgenic plants that have a high tolerance to drought and extreme light conditions. She was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to work campus-wide with staff, faculty and administrators in support of UGA’s outstanding faculty,” Covert said. “I look forward to maintaining UGA’s current strengths in faculty affairs and to enhancing faculty recruitment, retention and advancement through new programs and refined administrative procedures.”

Covert joined UGA’s faculty in 1993 after completing a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona. She earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in biochemistry from Dartmouth University and earned her doctorate in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.