University of Wisconsin Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Paul DeLuca Jr. announced Wednesday he will be handing off the position of provost and returning to a faculty position.

Appointed by former Chancellor Biddy Martin, DeLuca said he will step down as provost once a successor is named, adding that he looks to continue his tenure at UW as a professor of medical physics.

“Being provost has been the most rewarding aspect of my career at UW-Madison, but at the same time it has been a daunting task that required tremendous effort and focus,” DeLuca said in a UW statement. “I am looking forward to returning to medical physics and pursuing some of the research that I love.”

DeLuca, who was named UW’s chief academic officer four years ago, said the professional relationship between chancellor and provost is a very cooperative one, adding that he is looking forward to helping incoming Chancellor Rebecca Blank choose a provost who will best match her leadership style.

According to UW spokesperson Terry Devitt, DeLuca has been instrumental in shaping the UW’s administrative body since his appointment. Devitt added that through his work with the UW’s undergraduate initiative, DeLuca vastly improved the undergraduate experience on campus.

“Paul was provost during a big change in leadership in the institution,” Devitt said. “we have had a big turnover in the number of deans and directors on campus, and Paul played a big role in putting the next generation of leadership in place.”

However, in addition to being invested in the university in a leadership role, Devitt said that DeLuca, like many scholars, is also invested in his life’s work and probably “wanted to get back to the things that got him into higher education in the first place.”

DeLuca said his experience as provost has been “extraordinary and gratifying” and he thanked the “outstanding” faculty, staff and students.

“I will deeply miss the opportunity to experience and work with these most innovative and committed individuals to the greater good of the institution,” DeLuca said.

A search and screen committee is expected to recommend a new provost by spring 2014.