Julia Spears is the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation. In this role, she is responsible for further developing and executing the Personalized Education Initiative in the Office of the Provost and overseeing a suite of university-wide projects that support The Plan for Pitt. In her prior role, Dr. Spears served as associate director of the Barger Leadership Institute at the University of Michigan. Prior to that, she held the position of associate vice provost for engaged learning at Northern Illinois University, to which she was promoted after serving as the founding director of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning. Nationally, Dr. Spears has served on the board for Undergraduate Research Program Directors for the Council on Undergraduate Research. Dr. Spears has a PhD in educational administration and higher education from Southern Illinois University; a Master of Public Administration from California State University, Long Beach; and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and speech communication from the University of Washington.