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Move affects transition in Offices of President, Provost

Claire Heininger | Monday, January 24, 2005

In a year in which top University leadership is already changing hands – University President-elect Father John Jenkins will succeed University President Father Edward Malloy on July 1 – University Provost Nathan Hatch’s unexpected departure marks another challenge for an administration in transition. But Hatch, 58, said he does not anticipate continuity problems arising from his exit.

“Not that individuals are unimportant, but I don’t worry about Notre Dame at all,” he said. “There’s a lot to be done at Notre Dame to make sure there’s a good transition … but the great thing about an institution like Notre Dame is that the mission is very clear … and I have tremendously high confidence in [Jenkins] to continue that.”

Hatch said he will spend much of his remaining time at the University doing his best to ensure continuity between the outgoing and incoming presidents.

“I hope the baton can be handed off very well,” he said.

The state of the transition in Hatch’s own position is less definite. It is too early to tell whether a new or interim provost will be in place by the time Jenkins takes office, University spokesman Matt Storin said.

According to Notre Dame’s academic articles, a new provost must be chosen through a detailed process, beginning with the University president asking the Academic Council to form a committee composed of five of its elected faculty members and one of its student members. Chaired by the president, this committee then receives nominations from the faculty, with additional nominations possible from the president and Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees. After consultations within the committee about potential candidates, the president reports the results to the Board, and offers a personal recommendation. The Board then elects the new provost. Jenkins will chair the committee, Malloy said.

There are no University specifications about who can be nominated for provost, including the candidate’s religion, Storin said. Hatch, the third provost since Notre Dame established the position in 1970, was the first Protestant to serve as provost.

The Office of the Provost is no stranger to quick turnover. Last spring, it found itself nearly bare after its three then-vice president and associate provosts – Jenkins, Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves and Saint Mary’s President Carol Mooney – left their positions there.

“Certainly losing the three people there, I feared what that would mean,” Hatch said. “But the tree people that came in have been so terrific, it hasn’t been as bad … I feel very blessed there.”

Jean Ann Linney, Christine Maziar and Dennis Jacobs were hired as vice president and associate provosts last summer. Hatch said he expects them to remain in their current roles once a new provost is hired.

“I think there’s some stability there,” Hatch said.