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Michael E. Vayda, an accomplished educator, scientist and administrator, was appointed provost at UMass Lowell in 2016.

As the university’s chief academic officer, Vayda brings previous experience enabling efforts to innovate curriculum through project-based learning, value-added experiences abroad, engagement with private-sector companies as partners in education and research, and interdisciplinary collaborations that advance our knowledge-based economy. 

Vayda has held academic appointments as Instructor (Princeton University 1983-1984), Assistant and Associate Professor (University of Maine 1986-1991, 1991-1998), Professor (University of Maine 1998-2004; University of Vermont 2004-present), and Visiting Scholar (Northeastern University 1994-1995; Palmer Station Antarctica 1991 and 1993). 

His administrative appointments have been as Assistant Director of the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station (1998-2004), as Associate Dean of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Vermont (2004-present), as Associate Director of the Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station (2004-present) and as Dean of the University of Arkansas’ College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences & Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs in the Arkansas Division of Agriculture. 

Vayda has received recognition for his energetic, caring and innovative teaching (University of Maine, 1998), and the application of his research expertise for public service (University of Maine 2004) and engaging stakeholders. 

He has served the profession on grant review panels (USDA-NRI, NSF), numerous national committees (ESCOP Budget and Legislative Committee Chair, APLU Budget Advocacy Committee, ESCOP Chair’s Advisory Committee, as co-organizer of international symposia, and as liaison to private sector organizations (Maine Potato Board, Maine Blueberry Commission, Biotechnology Association of Maine, Maine Center for Innovation in Biotechnology, Maine Technology Institute, Vermont & New England Dairy Promotion Boards, and Vermont’s Center for Emerging Technologies). 

Vayda also served as chair of the Northeast Regional Research Association Experiment Station Directors, executive committee member of the University of Vermont's "Ag Innovations Initiative," and president of the Maine Center of Innovation in Biotechnology. He was named a Kellogg Foundation Fellow in the Food Systems Leadership Institute and received the College of Natural Sciences Forestry and Agriculture Outstanding Public Service award. 

Vayda’s scholarly research collaborations include more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in journals and books, a patent, and more than $9.4 million in extramural funding during his career. He has engaged in scholarly partnerships with colleagues in the U.S. and abroad, developing innovative educational opportunities with universities worldwide.

In May 2019, Dr. Vayda stepped down from the Provost’s office to join the faculty of Biological Sciences.