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Committee discusses ideal qualities for new provost

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Provost search committee members heard comments and suggestions from professors about the kind of administrator needed to replace outgoing Provost Nathan Hatch as Notre Dame’s chief academic officer at Faculty Senate’s Tuesday meeting. Search committee chair and University President-elect Father John Jenkins told senators he had begun collecting names of potential candidates and would share them with the full search committee soon. The search for a new provost was prompted by Hatch’s decision to depart Notre Dame July 1 to assume the position of president at Wake Forest. Student affairs committee chair Jay Brandenberger suggested the University might strongly consider female candidates, because much of the University’s academic leadership is male, he said. “Most of the deans are male and the president is male – maybe there’s a bit of extra energy to look for a female candidate,” he said. Faculty comments on a new provost varied widely from remarks on candidates’ academic backgrounds to managerial qualities, with several senators suggesting that the new provost possess a background in the sciences. Hatch served as a history professor at Notre Dame before becoming provost. Other senators said the new provost should be attuned to advancing Notre Dame’s academic goals as well as remaining true to its history and identity, particularly as a Catholic institution.”Whoever we hire as a new provost needs to have the ability to articulate the role, the mission, the place of a university like Notre Dame in our society,” said academic affairs committee chair John Robinson. Faculty also cited the ability to foster a strong relationship with Notre Dame’s professors as a key characteristic of a new provost.”They have to communicate well with an increasingly wide constituency,” said Senate chair Seth Brown. “One of the things that I think faculty appreciate is direct communication – that goes a long way toward softening the blows of unfavorable decisions.” Jenkins told senators that all search committee deliberations must remain confidential but faculty comments on potential candidates would be used to determine a final choice. The search committee has said previously that it will consider individuals inside and outside of the University and may not name a new provost until the fall 2005 semester. In other Faculty Senate news:u Brandenberger said he was still searching for additional faculty to serve on the student and faculty committee tasked with developing a mechanism for students to provide information to other students about their courses. The committee, which stemmed from a proposal made by associate provost Dennis Jacobs to senate in November, will remain stalled until at least one additional faculty member comes forward, Brandenberger said. u The student affairs committee discussed potential revisions to the handling of honor code violations proposed by the Academic Council. Brandenberger said the Council will consider allowing faculty to directly determine penalties in cheating cases, rather than forwarding them to departmental honor code committees.