With new provost, University continues image makeover

Jamie Lloyd

UNO welcomes Mahyar Amouzegar as new provost

The University of New Orleans has appointed Mahyar Amouzegar as the new provost and senior vice president of academic affairs to succeed John Nicklow, who stepped out of the provost position and into the office of president last spring.


Provost Amouzegar’s track record includes over two decades of experience in academia and government, both domestically and internationally. He served as dean of the College of Engineering at the California Polytechnic Institute at Pomona, where he implemented programs to promote research and development, expand the graduate program, and increase diversity in STEM fields on the campus.


Amouzengar is a first-generation student with a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate degree in operations research, both received from the University of California at Los Angeles. Additionally, Amouzegar is a published author of a number of academic journals and professional magazines, including, most recently, a novel.


Amouzegar explained his initial draw to the University of New Orleans as an academic institution for higher learning and development:

“UNO sits in one of the most unique and elegant cities in the world, so the city by itself would have been enough of an attraction, but after speaking to the search committee and meeting the faculty, staff and students of UNO, I saw unparalleled enthusiasm and sincere commitment. And I wanted to be part of this group of amazing people.”

The provost works closely with many aspects of university life, which includes departments in the library, the division of international education, information technology, student affairs, service learning and online instruction, among other academic units, making the role a dynamic and often challenging position.


“The provost is the chief academic officer of the university. All of the academic units report to the provost and vice president of academic affairs,” former Interim Provost Norm Whitley explained. Whitley served as interim provost from April of 2016 until Amouzegar’s appointment began in the first week of January.


The provost’s job is essentially to answer one progress-driven question: How can the university move forward?

“Our number-one priority must be enrollment, and we should effectively apply various strategies to achieve this goal. Clearly, the faculty, staff and students are also paramount, and we should use every tool available to provide a welcoming, warm and rewarding environment for all of our constituents,” Amouzegar said.   


“UNO has a huge impact on our local and state economy, and our graduates rank amongst the best of the best. We need to tell our story better so we can be recognized nationally and internationally as well.”

“Dr. Nicklow wanted someone that had a broad background … [Amouzegar] has had experience being a dean in an academic setting,” said Whitley.


“Each institution is unique and [comes] with its own potentials and constraints,” said Amouzegar. “Although I will use my experiences and expertise, we, as a campus, must design a new model that would fit the needs of UNO.”

“He’s been innovative, progressive—interested in doing new things as an academic institution—and he works hard,” Whitley added. “That’s one of the qualities that John Nicklow really likes, that he works hard.”

Whitley is confident that Amouzegar is the right fit for the university at this present time in its championed history and will bring the necessary changes needed at UNO to fruition in the coming years.

“I have high expectations. He’s going to be great for the university.”