Jim Roberts will step down as a Kansas University administrator and leader of the KU Center for Research in August to become a full-time professor, KU announced Tuesday.
University officials named Steve Warren, director of KU's Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, as interim vice provost for research and graduate studies. Warren will serve in Roberts' former position while Provost Richard Lariviere leads a national search for a permanent replacement.
Roberts will become a professor of electrical engineering for the fall semester. He said he and his wife had decided that his 32 years as an administrator in academia and private industry had been enough.
"We looked at each other and said, 'Let's just let this be it,'" Roberts said. "I will tell you that my wife, Carol, is the happiest woman in Lawrence."
Roberts helped with the creation of the Center for Research in 1997 and has been involved with it since then. He became vice provost for research in 2004, and departmental restructuring earlier this year gave him oversight of the graduate school as well.
Also earlier this year, Roberts was a finalist to be named president at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, but he did not get the job. He said the job attracted him because of the school's connections to engineering and the aerospace industry, where he had a background.
Warren said he would not seek to fill Roberts' job permanently, because he wants to remain in his post with the Institute for Life Span Studies.
"I'm willing to play the interim role, because it's an important thing for the university," Warren said.
He said the provost's office probably would form a search committee for Roberts' replacement next month. A national search will likely take six to eight months, he said.
The vice provost for research and graduate studies serves as president and chief operating officer for the Center for Research, which helps finance and manage faculty research.