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Committe selection starts provost search

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Notre Dame took its first official step towards hiring a new provost Tuesday when the University’s Academic Council selected a seven-member committee to direct the search process.Chaired by University President-elect Father John Jenkins, the committee is now charged with finding the successor to current Provost Nathan Hatch, who will leave Notre Dame July 1 to become the president of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.The provost, the second-ranking officer in the Notre Dame administration, oversees the direction, coordination and development of the University’s academic affairs. Hatch, who took over the post in 1996, is the third person to serve as provost since the office was created in 1970.After a “cumbersome” process that required each of the 46 voting Academic Council members to nominate three candidates for the search committee, the council chose five faculty members and one student, said Jean Ann Linney, vice president and associate provost. The committee will immediately open a “full and extensive” search for both internal and external candidates for the post, but must be careful to keep those candidates’ identities confidential, Linney said.”One of the challenges in a committee like this … is that any candidate we look at already has a pretty big job,” she said. “The committee members have to do most of their work out of the public eye.”They will also have to do their work quickly.The University would like to find a new provost “as soon as possible without sacrificing the depth and quality of the [search] process,” Linney said. “We don’t want too big of a gap [after Hatch leaves].”The provost is elected by the Board of Trustees. According to Notre Dame’s academic articles, the search committee must announce the position publicly and ask for nominations from the faculty, with additional nominations possible from the University president and the Board. After consultations within the committee about potential candidates, the president reports the results to the Board and offers a personal recommendation before the Board makes its choice.Hatch’s involvement in this process remains to be seen, Linney said, but added the provost certainly has high expectations for his successor.”He’s been at Notre Dame 30 years – I know that he cares a great deal about what happens and who will replace him,” she said.The faculty committee members who were chosen at the Academic Council meeting include Panos Antsaklis, an electrical engineering professor and the director of the Center for Applied Mathematics, Sunny Boyd, an associate professor of biological sciences, Cornelius Delaney, a philosophy professor, Brad Gregory, an associate professor of history and a fellow of the Nanovic Institute and Teresa Phelps, a Law School professor and a fellow of the Kroc Institute, Linney said.”They are trusted colleagues … [who] have been at the University a long time and probably have a broad perspective on the University,” Linney said. “It’s an honor to be elected to the committee.”The student committee member is senior Jeremy Staley, who serves as an academic delegate to the Council.Staley, who was also on the search committee for the new dean of the First Year of Studies program, said he expects to gain exceptional experience as the sole student on the provost committee.”You really get to see how the upper echelons of the University work,” Staley said, adding he will seek input from many other undergraduates in order to best represent the student voice.”I want to try to get the broadest representation,” he said. “‘What would you like to see in a provost?’ is a hard question … ‘what direction would you like to see Notre Dame go in?’ … you want someone who’s going to have this vision, understand the University’s mission – it’s kind of a formidable post.”The Academic Council meeting was closed to the press.