Vice Provost Rainier Spencer Announces Retirement

Oct. 1, 2018


Vice Provost Rainier Spencer Rainier Spencer, Ph.D., is retiring from UNLV, having served more than 21 years in faculty and administration. His last day on campus will be December 18, 2018.
After a career as a U.S. Army officer, Dr. Spencer joined UNLV’s Department of Anthropology & Ethnic Studies as an Assistant Professor in August 1997. Seeing the need for an Afro-American Studies Program at UNLV, he developed the minor in 1998, and the bachelor’s degree in 2000. He served as director of Afro-American Studies until 2013. 
Dr. Spencer was appointed as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts in 2001, remaining in that position through 2004. In 2011, he moved to the Interdisciplinary Degrees Program – now known as the Department of Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies – in part to assist the unit in its drive to achieve department status. 
Dr. Spencer moved into upper administration including Senior Advisor to the President (2012–2013), Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (2013–2015), Interim Chief Diversity Officer (2015–2017), and Vice Provost for Academic Programs (2015–2018). 
In addition to his teaching and administrative roles, he is proud of his two decades of involvement in planning and managing UNLV’s Commencement ceremonies. 
His scholarly accomplishments include three foundational books as well as several book chapters and journal articles in the emergent field of critical mixed-race studies. Dr. Spencer completed his bachelor’s degree in art and education from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1978, and his master’s degree in philosophy from Columbia University in 1989. He earned his doctoral degree in Afro-American studies from Emory University in 1997.
Dr. Spencer and his wife Jackie, who recently retired as Senior Registered Nurse for UNLV’s Student Recreation & Wellness Center, will relocate near Joshua Tree National Park in California, where they look forward to relaxing and operating a vacation rental home on their property for park visitors.