By Meredith Camel
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 23, 2017)—The executive vice president and provost is the University’s chief academic officer and a principal voice on all aspects of daily activity and future progress. To garner feedback from the UM community about the kinds of skills, experience, and qualities the University’s next provost should embody, members of the Provost Search Committee held town hall meetings on March 20 and 21 on all three campuses, as well as in an online chat session.
Thomas J. LeBlanc will step down this summer after 12 years as UM’s executive vice president and provost to become president of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. This accomplishment demonstrates that UM is “seen not only as a magnet for talent but also as a purveyor of talent for other universities,” UM President Julio Frenk told participants at the Coral Gables town hall.
In his remarks, Frenk outlined five attributes the University requires of its next provost: stellar academic achievement; an appreciation for the breadth and depth of fields at a comprehensive research university like UM—and commitment to building bridges between them; a keen understanding of challenges in higher education, including diminishing research funding, rising costs of education, and health care industry changes; a proven record as an innovator; and a relentless commitment to diversity.
Deans, students, and faculty and staff members who attended the town halls shared their top priorities for the next provost with select members of the search committee, chaired by Eduardo Alfonso, director of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The ability to find new strategies for funding research and scholarship was a hot topic among participants, as was the call for someone who will be transparent amid the tough choices integral to the role. Additional recommendations included support for technology and other classroom upgrades, the ability to motivate faculty members to embrace innovations in pedagogy, a global outlook and proficiency with international communities, and a management style that embraces the University’s DIRECCT values (diversity, integrity, responsibility, creativity, compassion, and teamwork).
To nominate a candidate or for more information, visit the Executive Vice President and Provost Search website.