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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Provost search finalists will be named soon

    The search for a new provost, the UA’s chief academic officer and President Robert Shelton’s second-in-command, is drawing to a close.

    The 27-member search committee is expected to announce the names of three or four finalists in late January or early February.

    The search began in earnest in April after former provost George Davis, a geosciences professor, announced his plan to step down, citing a desire to return to teaching and research.

    Since Davis left the position in June, Eugene Sander has served as interim provost.

    From a total of 113 nominees, of which 61 went on to become formal applicants, the search committee will select three or four candidates, who will spend a day and a half doing formal interviews with student and faculty leadership.

    The candidates will also take part in a public forum, where they will deliver speeches and field questions from the audience, said Vicki Chandler, chair of the search committee, a molecular and cellular biology professor, and director of the BIO5 Institute.

    “”We have a very strong pool of applicants,”” Chandler said. “”We’re focusing down on who the best fit might be to bring to campus for more detailed interviews.””

    Chandler would not say if any of the candidates have ties to the UA. The committee will release names as soon as nominees commit to campus interviews.

    Shelton said he has the final say in the selection of a new provost, who works closely with his office.

    He added he is not personally acquainted with the applicants, meaning Sander is not a candidate.

    With 17 college deans, the vice president for research, the vice president for student affairs and many other high-ranking university offices reporting to the provost, the position requires a comprehensive understanding of all academic and administrative functions of the university, as well as a strong working chemistry with the president, Shelton said.

    “”The provost has to be a scholar that the faculty would respect because it’s the chief academic officer, so they are accomplished as scholars, but they also have extensive high-level administrative experience,”” he said.

    “”It is the position where everything rolls into for the day-to-day functioning of the academics of the university,”” he added. “”I have looked at the (accomplishments) of the people we will be inviting in, and I’m very impressed with each one. They’re each accomplished in the different disciplines that they come from.””

    Chandler and other members of the search committee are confident that among the finalists, Shelton will find the right person for the job.

    “”I think we’re all optimistic,”” said Jory Hancock, a committee member and director of the School of Dance. “”I, for one, feel that there’s been great diversity in the input. All of the various disciplines on campus are well represented, and people have had ample time to offer input. I think it’s been a great process.””

    Shelton, too, is confident that he will find a good match among the final candidates but said he won’t know for sure until he’s had the opportunity to sit down and speak with each in person.

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