McCabe Named Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation

Margaret Sova McCabe
University Relations

Margaret Sova McCabe

Margaret Sova McCabe has been named the vice chancellor for research and innovation after serving as an interim in the role since Jan. 1, 2023. Since being assigned to the division, McCabe has worked to develop the research excellence strategy necessary for continued growth and support of faculty research.

Her work has also been to lead the division’s implementation of research administration enhancements and transformation – work that has been in partnership with the Huron Group, as well as senior division staff, faculty researchers and associate deans for research.

Finally, she has also been responsible for ensuring the university is well-prepared to understand the impact of the federal CHIPS & Science Act, as well as other national trends, on the role of higher education in the research landscape.

“Over the past nine months, Margaret has demonstrated an innate leadership ability, a solutions-oriented approach and a deep commitment to advancing the research enterprise through collaboration, consolidation of resources, structure, prioritization and faculty support,” Chancellor Charles Robinson said. “I could not make the decision to bring somebody else in when she was doing such a great job. Margaret is absolutely the right person to lead this critical area at this time.”

McCabe's two-year appointment is effective Oct. 1. In addition to this latest role, McCabe has extensive experience leading key areas at the university, including serving as the 13th dean of the School of Law from 2018-2022 and as senior adviser for special projects since Jan. 1, 2022. She is also a professor of law and continues to contribute to food law and policy research and teaching, as time permits.

“I am excited to be able to continue working with some of the most talented and committed people on campus: our division staff and our researchers,” McCabe said. “Whether focusing on adopting a best administrative practice through policy change, pursuing large funding opportunities or developing our research facilities, our campus and stakeholders should know there are team of people who pursue research excellence every day. We have a bright future of discovery and innovation that will benefit the state, nation and world.”

McCabe also noted that the CHIPS & Science Act, along with other changes in the federal approach to research, means that the research landscape is shifting.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have strengths in power electronics, architectural design and materials innovation; health care, including advances in prosthetics and exercise science; SMART mobility; and many, many other important projects,” McCabe said. “All of these efforts are stronger because of the collaborations that are happening across campus, collaborations that we must continue to foster as a part of our larger strategic planning effort focused on research excellence.”

The university’s draft 150 Forward Strategic Plan includes three primary goals, including research excellence, defined as the U of A being a university that “relentlessly pursues its land grant mission by promoting scientific inquiry, knowledge creation and creative works that integrate and coordinate education, research and service activities.” Objectives include:

  • Attaining a lasting reputation for deep expertise, high quality education and research outputs.
  • Aligning the research enterprise with society’s needs and the economy across the region, state, nation and world – (including  research commercialization, workforce training and other economic and cultural development that advances all Arkansans).
  • Achieving a sustainable, shared research enterprise that adopts and develops best practices in research administration;  growing research facility size and support; faculty recruitment, retention and success; graduate education; and undergraduate participation in the research enterprise.

Before joining the U of A, McCabe was a member of the University of New Hampshire School of Law’s faculty and served as its associate dean for academic affairs and prior to that, its associate dean for academic administration. McCabe served in these roles during the integration of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, an independent law school that pioneered intellectual property education, into the University of New Hampshire, the state’s land grant and flagship institution.

While at UNH, McCabe was also a faculty fellow in food systems at the UNH Sustainability Institute and an affiliate faculty member at the Carsey School of Public Policy. Her teaching portfolio includes administrative law and process, Food Law and Policy, nutrition law and policy, and a co-taught Honors College seminar titled Food Matters. This course offered interdisciplinary perspectives on food systems including agricultural economics, production and law.

Aligning her research with her teaching, McCabe’s scholarship has focused on regulatory and legal issues in the food system, including obesity, food marketing, scientific standards and food labeling, sustainable food system design and government’s development of dietary guidelines.

McCabe is a graduate of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where she was one of the first students to pursue an interdisciplinary sustainability program. She earned her law degree from the University of Maine, where she served as an articles editor on Maine Law’s Ocean and Coastal Law Journal.


John Thomas, director of media relations
University Relations


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