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FAYETTEVILLE -- Jim Rankin, the top research officer at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, will take over in January as president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the state's regents board announced Tuesday.

Rankin, 61, will return to the school where he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1978. He is a South Dakota native who joined UA in 2010.

"I have to admit, when I was a student here, being a president of this institution was not in my wildest dreams," Rankin said during a meeting of the South Dakota Board of Regents held in Rapid City, S.D.

Rankin will earn a yearly salary of $349,440 to lead a four-year engineering school with an enrollment of about 2,900 students, according to Tracy Mercer, an information research analyst with the regents board. His contract will be finalized and approved in a December regents meeting, Mercer said. He starts his new role Jan. 8 at the Rapid City school.

At UA, Rankin, the school's vice provost for research and innovation, earned a salary of $261,944, according to UA spokesman Steve Voorhies. In 2011, UA announced it had been for the first time recognized as having "very high levels" of research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a designation based in part on doctoral degrees awarded and the amount of research grants.

Last year, under what is known as the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, UA's status was reaffirmed to be among schools with the highest possible research designation.

Mark Rushing, a UA spokesman, said it was unknown when Rankin's last day as a vice provost would be.

Metro on 11/08/2017

Print Headline: UA researcher accepts post in S.D.

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