Niles will succeed John Dooley who will become the chief operating officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation April 1, and then the chief executive officer upon the retirement of Raymond J. Smoot June 30.
“We are extremely fortunate that Jerry has agreed to return to university service and head our outreach and international initiatives during the transition from John Dooley’s leadership,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Mark G. McNamee. “His extensive leadership experience and distinguished record of successful university projects, combined with his ability to collaborate with our faculty, staff, and students will be a tremendous asset during this transitional time.”
Niles will serve while the university launches a new search for a permanent vice president. He will work closely with associate vice presidents Susan Short and Guru Ghosh to implement outreach and international priorities for the university.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1974, Niles was the founding dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences from 2003 to 2007. During that time, Niles directed the restructuring of the new college and defined a new vision for the arts, humanities, social sciences, human sciences, and education at the university.
Prior to this position, Niles was the interim dean of the former College of Human Sciences and Education from 2002 to 2003. In that role, he guided the college in the reshaping of its programs in human sciences, which included facilitating the transition of departments into three other colleges and the inclusion of the Department of Communication into the human sciences framework; and encouraged greater focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teacher education and leadership for K-12 schools.
From 1995 to 2002, Niles served as the college’s associate dean for innovation, graduate studies, and research. From 1993 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2002, he was chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning.
Throughout his career, Niles provided support for several multicultural initiatives both at the college and university level, resulting in the enhancement of interdisciplinary and international collaborations, an enriched quality and diversity of employees and students, and a teacher development program in Malawi, Africa.
As a faculty member in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction, Niles provided leadership as an innovative teacher in developmental reading and assessment; publishing on various perspectives of literacy issues; implementing Virginia’s Colleague Teacher Project; and preparing hundreds of students to assume positions in education. In 1998, he was named Outstanding Teacher Educator Leader by the Virginia Association of Teacher Educators. At Virginia Tech, he received the William Wine Award, several Excellence in Teaching Awards, and is an inductee of the University Academy of Teaching Excellence.
Niles received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York College at Cortland and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Albany.