Kyle Shelton of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston has been named the next director of CTS. He will begin in the role August 2, 2021.
Shelton currently serves as deputy director of the Kinder Institute, a multidisciplinary think-and-do tank focused on translating academic research into on-the-ground improvements in urban communities. He holds a PhD in American History from University of Texas at Austin.
U of M Vice President for Research Christopher J. Cramer said that he and other interviewers were impressed by Shelton’s enthusiasm and vision, as well as his accomplishments as part of the leadership of a similarly multidisciplinary academic research institute in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city.
“The feedback we received from Kyle’s public interviews emphasized the value of his national perspective and the connections that he will bring to our local and regional transportation challenges,” Cramer said. “At the same time, reviewers were impressed with his thoughtful plans to engage stakeholders in Minnesota—to ‘meet them where they live,’ here in a Midwestern metro area that is under a national spotlight on issues of equity and fairness, which are closely tied to transportation.”
“Dr. Shelton rose to the top of a very impressive pool of candidates for many reasons,” according to Dean Laura Bloomberg of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, who chaired the search committee. “He is a collaborative leader with excellent research skills who views safe, sustainable, and effective transportation systems as a fundamental component of environmental justice and social equity. Kyle joins a dedicated community of scholars and practitioners at CTS, and I'm confident he will lead the Center to ever greater national prominence as a catalyst for innovation in transportation research, education, and engagement.”
To help catalyze new CTS initiatives focusing on technological innovation, Cramer said his office will also provide new, interim funding for Shelton to hire a 25 percent time scholar who will have a mandate to drive increased and informed CTS activity in the science, engineering, and technology space.