Alexander N. Cartwright

Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

SUNY Provost Alexander Cartwright

Dr. Alexander N. Cartwright has served as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) since September 2014. As Provost, Dr. Cartwright supports the Chancellor and Board of Trustees in carrying out their oversight responsibilities of the 64-campus system. He drives academic policy and oversees a broad portfolio including: access and inclusion; academic program planning and assessment; enrollment management; student success; global affairs; information technology; and, SUNY's broad research enterprise.  

Dr. Cartwright has refocused SUNY’s academic agenda around the overarching areas of: student success and completion; diversity, equity and inclusion; and, through research growth in emerging areas, increasing SUNY’s impact on state and global challenges.

Dr. Cartwright introduced and saw adopted a sweeping diversity, equity and inclusion policy which applies to all campuses and SUNY’s System Administration. A native of the Bahamas, Dr. Cartwright believes in inclusive excellence wherein an institution cannot achieve excellence if it not inclusive. He developed a comprehensive completion model to meet SUNY’s ambitious goal of ensuring that more New Yorkers earn the credentials they need to succeed. He launched a system-wide Educational Effectiveness and Strategic Enrollment process designed to support each campus in meeting improvement goals. He established and oversees the Applied Learning Steering Committee to ensure faculty oversight of SUNY’s goal of a rigorous, meaningful, applied learning experience for every student.

During his tenure as Provost, Dr. Cartwright also served as Acting President of the Research Foundation for SUNY from January 2015 - June 2016, overseeing the Foundation’s management of over $1 billion dollars in annual sponsored research activity and recommitting the organization to focus on creation of a culture of compliance, transparent administration of sponsored research; and supporting campus efforts to commercialize intellectual property created on campuses. At the same time, he established the position of Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development to support research efforts of SUNY faculty, grow business and industry partnerships, and foster both undergraduate and graduate research opportunities for SUNY students. Dr. Cartwright also served as Officer-in-Charge of two SUNY campuses undergoing leadership transition, SUNY’s Downstate Medical Center and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. In each case he worked with campus faculty governance, faculty at large, students, staff and administrators to meet time-sensitive needs and to identify, and see through to appointment, interim leadership.

Dr. Cartwright represents SUNY in Congressional, Federal Agency, White House, and State Legislative audiences to share SUNY’s input on key academic and research issues.

Dr. Cartwright came to the role of Provost already a member of the SUNY community. He joined the University at Buffalo, State University of New York (UB) in 1995 serving on the faculty and holding increasingly senior administrative positions at the AAU research university. His immediate past position was that of Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Acting Executive Director of the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. In these roles, he was responsible for campus/industry relations, research funding and compliance, research communications and research support for UB and the Center.

An internationally recognized researcher and scholar in the area of optical sensors, Dr. Cartwright previously served as the Chair of both the Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Departments at UB. Before beginning these concurrent chairmanships, Dr. Cartwright led UB’s efforts to synergize research across disciplines as the Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives. In this position he oversaw infrastructure and scholarship in eight areas of strategic strength that spanned departments from Visual Studies to Medicine. He has served as a professor in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering and an adjunct full professor in Physics at UB. In the first years of his professorship, Dr. Cartwright received both the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award.  He earned the SUNY Chancellor's award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002. Dr. Cartwright retains his rank as full professor while serving as System Provost, he continues to run the Laboratory for Applied Spectroscopic Evaluation (LASE), oversee doctoral students and one post-doc student, and remains active in research, receiving his latest NSF award in 2016.

Dr. Cartwright's research is generally in the area of optical materials and sensors. Currently, he is engaged in engineering optical "metamaterials," artificial materials that provide optical properties not readily available in nature. His technology for fabricating a rainbow-colored polymer using a one-step, low-cost holographic lithography method was one of just five inventions worldwide to be named to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)'s 2013 list of Innovations that Could Change the Way You Manufacture.

Dr. Cartwright is a prolific and highly influential scholar, producing more than 150 peer reviewed journal publications and conference proceedings. He has received considerable funding from numerous organizations including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Defense, and the Office of Naval Research, and various industrial sponsors. Dr. Cartwright holds four patents and his work has been licensed by three startup companies.

In November 2016, Dr. Cartwright was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Cartwright was recognized for, "outstanding research, teaching and mentorship in optics, for advancing science in New York, nationally, and internationally, and for strengthening diversity and inclusion in science." In February 2016, Dr. Cartwright was named to the Carnegie Math Pathways Advisory Board by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In September of 2015, Dr. Cartwright was appointed by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Photonics Institute Board of Officers. In December of 2014, Dr. Cartwright earned appointment as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Cartwright is a Fellow of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Eta Kappa Nu, and the Materials Research Society (MRS).

Dr. Cartwright holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa. He and his wife Melinda have two children, both now in college, Andrew and Alyssa.

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