ECE associate professor leaves legacy of fostering student success
Gregory Triplett, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE), accepted a position as associate dean of graduate studies for the School of Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Va. Triplett, who has been with the MU College of Engineering since 2004, will begin in his new role at VCU in the upcoming Spring 2016 semester.
Triplett said the position offers a natural progression to the work he has been involved with at MU, having served as a past associate director of the MU Honors College and in his current role as the ECE undergraduate director. He also has been influential as a leader on his department’s committee for undergraduate courses and curriculum.
“The Honors College really felt to me how our College should operate,” said Triplett of the campus program, which includes undergraduate research opportunities. “We should be married to the Honors Program. Honors students become Ph.D.s.”
In 2008, Triplett received a $520,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a five-year program to provide two-year scholarships, peer mentoring, tutoring and study tools for qualifying freshmen and transfer students. Called IncREaCE (Increasing Retention for Electrical and Computer Engineers), Triplett was inspired to write the grant after serving on an NSF committee charged with reviewing university scholarship programs.
“IncREaCE was making sure that every student who came in graduated. Retention is a big issue, equally as important as recruitment,” he said.
Triplett has received campus recognition for his work with students. In 2009, he received the MU Chancellors Excellence Award for Most Outstanding Advisor. The following year, Triplett received a coveted William T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching. Kemper Fellowships were established at MU in 1991, and each year five teachers are honored with a surprise visit to their classroom to announce the award.
In 2011, Triplett was a nominee for the U.S. Professors of the Year program, and in 2013, he was named a SEC Academic Leadership Development fellow, a development program that seeks to identify, prepare and advance academic leaders.
Triplett said the position at VCU represents a great opportunity. VCU is offering new opportunities for students and faculty and he will be tasked with growing its graduate pipeline. He said he is very excited about getting to have more impact on graduate research.
“You listen [to students], and ask questions like what is they want to do. This is a critical decision for them. Do you tell them what they want to hear or what they need to hear? Sometimes it is one, sometimes the other. But it always includes, ‘This is what it will take,’” Triplett said. “The activities I have embraced at MU all lead to getting students into graduate school.”
Triplett’s wife, Deborah Noble-Triplett, will leave her post as assistant vice president for academic affairs with the MU System to become a senior vice provost at VCU.
Triplett earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Florida A&M University and his master’s degree from Florida State University. He earned his doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology.