Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Programs Elizabeth A. Graddy announced the appointment of Professor Andrea Hodge as the vice provost for undergraduate programs in an email to students Friday morning. Hodge will fill the seat of Professor Gene Bickers, who Graddy said decided to step down in order to pursue research and teaching.Hodge has been a faculty member at USC since 2007 and has since then held the Arthur B. Freeman Professorship in the Viterbi School of Engineering and a joint appointment in the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Hodge also oversees the Hodge Materials Nanotechnology Research Group.Hodge holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a doctoral degree from Northwestern University. Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Hodge worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.In her email, Graddy thanked Bickers for his service in the undergraduate programs office. She noted his efforts in implementing a consistent advising program for all undergraduate students. Graddy said that during his tenure, the six-year graduation rate at USC increased by 10 percent.“His commitment and leadership have been essential to the continued success of our undergraduate programs, and his tireless efforts have produced far-reaching benefits across the university,” Graddy said in the email.