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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA seeks candidates for provost

    Basketball-toting students raised about $2,000 for student scholarships and WorldCare, a local international-relief organization, at Saturdays Big Dribble around the UA Mall.
    Basketball-toting students raised about $2,000 for student scholarships and WorldCare, a local international-relief organization, at Saturday’s Big Dribble around the UA Mall.

    The search is on for someone to fill Provost George Davis’ shoes when he returns to the full-time faculty in June, but his permanent replacement may not arrive until the end of the year.

    President Robert Shelton said he asked the campus community for nominations for an interim provost, whom he will choose directly.

    The interim provost could be in office for up to six months, but Shelton said he plans to form a selection committee later this spring to hire a permanent provost.

    “”I want somebody who can add to the leadership around here and who’s willing to work 24/7,”” Shelton said.

    Victor R. Baker, a hydrology and water resources professor, said he hopes the person chosen to be interim provost will be someone of high integrity who has a good grasp of the issues the university faces.

    Paul Thorn, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, said it probably makes most sense to pick someone from within the Office of the Provost to be in the interim position, because he or she would be very familiar with what the job entails.

    J. Christopher Maloney, head of the philosophy department, said he hopes the committee will reflect constituencies who work most directly with the provost, with some representation from other groups as well.

    A provost committee, which will probably include faculty members, administrators and a student representative, will send nominations to Shelton. Shelton said he will limit the size of the committee.

    “”You don’t want the committee to get so big it trips over itself,”” he said.

    The permanent position can be filled by someone from outside the UA, so Shelton said he has asked leaders of other institutions around the country for their help in submitting names of possible candidates.

    Shelton said he has received submissions from Harvard University, the University of Iowa and several from within the University of California system.

    Once all the applicants are reviewed, Shelton said he hopes the committee will recommend a small number of them – more than one but less than five – to him so he can make the final call.

    Baker said having someone from outside the university could be advantageous because an external candidate wouldn’t have the same sort of “”baggage”” that an internal one would, but that he isn’t sure how the newcomer would handle the UA’s budget situation.

    Many departments are feeling the crunch from Shelton’s $10.3 million budget cut announced earlier this year. Davis, working deans and department heads will be making the final recommendations to Shelton about where individual cuts will be made.

    “”We’ve got problems that need to be worked on right now,”” Maloney said, adding that because of those problems, a “”prompt internal selection might be optimal.””

    Maloney said the intricacies of the UA budgetary system would make it extremely difficult, but not impossible, for an external replacement to grasp it quickly enough.

    Maloney said he is most concerned, however, that Davis’s replacement be a highly-regarded academic and has experience as a department head and college dean. Whether or not that person is from the UA, Maloney said it is important for the candidates to recognize the kind of leadership it takes to make the university run smoothly.

    Thorn said he hopes the next provost is someone students can work with.

    “”You want someone who is going to be sensitive and listen to students,”” Thorn said. “”You want someone who’s accessible.””

    Shelton said he wanted to keep the search as wide as possible and try to reach candidates with diverse backgrounds.

    “”I don’t need another white male physicist,”” Shelton said. “”I’ve got that covered.””

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