Virginia Tech Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis announces the appointment of Sally C. Morton as dean of the College of Science.

Currently serving as professor and chair in the Department of Biostatistics in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, Morton will begin at Virginia Tech on July 1.

Morton will succeed Lay Nam Chang, who will step down from the position on June 30, having served as founding dean of the College of Science since 2003 and as dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences beginning in 2002. Chang joined Virginia Tech’s Department of Physics in 1978.

“I am quite pleased to have Dr. Morton joining our leadership team as the new dean of the College of Science,” said Rikakis. “She has a strong record of research and scholarship and brings great strength in her collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to programs, research, and leadership. Her unique combination of experience and leadership bridging academia and industry will enable the college to continue building innovative programs and leverage existing and emerging strengths in ways that will advance the college and university.”

“The Virginia Tech College of Science in its 13 years has had an incredible history of providing students with a hands-on, minds-on university education not found anywhere else, and I look forward to carrying on the work started by Dean Lay Nam Chang,” said Morton. “From its beginning as a land-grant university, Virginia Tech has dedicated itself to the community, the state, and the world, and I am proud to join with the college in advancing science and technology to create a better, healthier, sustainable future.”

At the University of Pittsburgh, Morton also directs the Comparative Effectiveness Research Center in the Health Policy Institute and holds appointments in the university’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Department of Statistics, and the Clinical and Translation Science Institute.

She has more than 30 years experience in academic and research settings, focusing on patient-centered comparative effectiveness and evidence synthesis. Her current collaborative projects address back pain and serious mental illness, and she is a co-investigator on the PaTH Clinical Data Research Network.  

Before joining the University of Pittsburgh, Morton served as vice president for statistics and epidemiology at RTI International and was head of the RAND Corporation Statistics Group.

Morton was 2009 president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and the 2013 chair of Section U (Statistics) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and she is a Fellow of both organizations. She also is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology.

In 2015, Morton was honored with the ASA’s Founder’s Award and was the Lowell Reed Invited Lecturer for the American Public Health Association’s Applied Public Health Statistics Section. She currently is a member of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Methodology Committee, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence-based Practice Center Program Methods Steering Committee. She also has served on several National Academy of Medicine committees, the Census Scientific Advisory Committee, and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on National Statistics. 

Morton holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences, a master’s degree in operations research, and a doctoral degree in statistics, all from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree in statistics from the London School of Economics. 

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

Share this story