Randall S. Hewes, Ph.D.
Dean of the Graduate College
Senior Associate VP for Research & Partnerships
Professor of Biology
Randy Hewes joined the University of Oklahoma faculty in 2001. He is Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate College. From 2002 to 2010, he also served as an adjunct member of the faculty in the Department of Cell Biology at the OU Health Sciences Center. In 2007, he was recognized as the Kinney-Sugg Outstanding Professor in the OU College of Arts and Sciences.
Hewes graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College with a B.A. in biology in 1988. As a graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle, he investigated steroid regulation of nerve cell activity in the context of insect molting behavior, and he received his Ph.D. degree in 1993. As a postdoctoral fellow and then research associate in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, he shifted his research focus to neuronal development and factors governing the production and secretion of neuroendocrine hormones. He was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral fellow from 1995-1997.
His OU research program has focused on the genetic and molecular pathways controlling neuronal remodeling during insect metamorphosis. He has investigated when and how mature neurons respond to insulin, steroids, and other cues to reactivate and execute growth processes that are usually seen only in the embryo. His research activities and graduate education initiatives have been supported by over $3.8 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
Hewes has taught undergraduate courses in Cell Biology and Cell/Molecular Neurobiology, and as department chair, he led a major revision of the department’s largest enrollment introductory biology lab course. He also launched the Cornerstone course initiative, with the goal of engaging all biology majors in research as sophomores as a formal part of the curriculum. He has served as the major advisor for five Ph.D. students and one master’s student, and he has mentored 54 undergraduate students in research in his laboratory. Many of his former students have established successful careers in science and medicine.
Hewes became assistant chair of the Department of Biology in 2008 and then served as chair of the department from 2011 to 2015. In 2016, he stepped down to take the position of senior associate dean in the Graduate College, and was later named interim dean. His other university leadership and service has included chairing the Faculty Senate (2014-2015), service on the Admissions and Employee Benefits Committees, the Provost’s Graduate Education Task Force and the President’s Graduation and Retention Task Force, and three years as Faculty-in-Residence.
In each of these roles, he has worked to advance academic initiatives and to improve professional support, career opportunities, and community for students, faculty, and staff.