The University of Arizona

Provost Receives Asian American Leadership Award

By Daniel Stolte, University Communications | June 6, 2012

The Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award recognizes and promotes the professional development and advancement of Asian Americans as leaders of colleges and universities.

Honored for her accomplishments and leadership in higher education: UA Provost Jacqueline Lee Mok.
Honored for her accomplishments and leadership in higher education: UA Provost Jacqueline Lee Mok.

UA Provost Jacqueline Lee Mok has been given the 2012 Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award from the Asian Pacific Fund for her accomplishments in higher education.

The Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Awards program annually honors two Asian Americans who demonstrate significant academic accomplishments as leaders of colleges and universities and have the potential to advance to the highest leadership levels in higher education.

Audrey Yamamoto, president and executive director of the Asian Pacific Fund, said the purpose of the award program is to recognize and promote the professional development and advancement of Asian Americans as leaders of colleges and universities.

"Our selection committee was particularly impressed with Dr. Mok's exceptional record of accomplishments and leadership in higher education," she said. "Her professional portfolio exemplifies the mix of demonstrated leadership strength and promising potential that this award is designed to recognize and highlight."

Mok was selected from 12 nominees for this year's award. Yamamoto said the committee was especially excited about Mok's liberal arts background.

"Typically, we have a considerable number of awardees coming from the science or engineering fields. The committee was pleased to have Dr. Mok bring a unique academic background to the mix of recipients," she said.

The Chang-Lin Tien Education Leadership Award was established in 2007 to honor the legacy of Chang-Lin Tien, the first Asian American to head a major U.S. research university. He was chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1990 to 1997.

“I am humbled that the selection committee of the Asian Pacific Fund has recognized me as an academic leader worthy of serving our higher education community in the manner that Chancellor Tien embodied,” said Mok, who has been serving as the UA's senior vice president for academic affairs and provost since August 2011. “I will endeavor to continue working with my colleagues to live up to this high distinction.”

Mok, who earned her master's degree in music education from the University of North Texas and her doctorate in arts education from New York University, came to the UA in 1997 as assistant dean in the College of Fine Arts. After assuming further duties as associate dean, she joined the Office of the Provost in 2004, where she held positions as assistant vice provost and vice provost. Four years later, then-UA President Robert N. Shelton appointed Mok as his first chief of staff. President Eugene G. Sander, who took over for Shelton while a search for a new president was conducted, asked Mok in August 2011 to add the responsibilities of provost on an interim basis.

Before joining the UA, Mok developed continuing education programs in the arts at the University of Washington. She also served as a cultural attaché with the United States diplomatic corps for several years, with stints in France, Nigeria and Sri Lanka. Mok has been the education director for Seattle Opera; an arts education consultant for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in New York City; and a music education specialist in New York and Texas schools.

Mok and the other award recipient – Suresh Subramani, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of California, San Diego – will be honored during the fund's annual gala on Oct. 20 at the Four Seasons in San Francisco. Both awards come with an unrestricted grant of $10,000.

"Asian Americans are greatly underrepresented in education leadership positions as are women in general, and we hope that with time this will change," Yamamoto said. "In light of this, it is great to be able to honor a woman of Dr. Mok's caliber."