I am pleased to announce the initiation of a search for the position of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs of Temple University. I am doing so on behalf of President-Elect Neil Theobald, who has asked me to initiate the search at this time, so that the search will be well under way by the time that he takes office on January 1. I am making this announcement after consultation with the faculty leadership (i.e., the Faculty Senate Steering Committee).
This will be an internal search open to persons who are tenured professors at Temple. One important reason for an internal search is that it will permit a more timely appointment of permanent deans in the schools and colleges that currently have interim deans. Also, an internal search reflects Dr. Theobald’s confidence in the talent pool of Temple University. And he also feels that since he comes into the presidency as an external person, he will be able to tap the expertise and institutional memory of an outstanding person currently at Temple who knows the faculty, staff and students. This will permit our new president to more quickly address the opportunities and challenges in the years ahead.
Since this is an internal search, there will not be a need for an external search firm. Instead, the search will be staffed by the Executive Office of the President and the Department of Human Resources (HR). HR will be responsible for conducting the necessary background checks on candidates.
The search will be led by a search committee with the following composition: There will be six (6) faculty members. Three (3) will be tenured/tenure track faculty members selected from a list of 6-8 nominees submitted by the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Administrative and Trustee Appointments (CATA). One (1) will be a tenured/tenure track faculty member who is a current member of the Faculty Senate Steering Committee and who is selected from a list of 2-3 nominees submitted by CATA. One (1) will be a non-tenure-track faculty member selected from a list of 2-3 nominees submitted by CATA. One (1) will be a tenured professor selected by the acting president. There will be two (2) students, the President of Temple Student Government or his designee and a graduate student selected by the Graduate School. There will be three (3) deans, one (1) university officer and one (1) non-faculty staff member selected by the acting president. The search committee will be chaired by a distinguished faculty member selected by the acting president from the list of search committee members. One condition for selection as a search committee member will be for the individual to declare that he/she will not be a candidate for the provost position. Search committee members will need to be available over the winter break at the call of the chair of the search committee.
The Faculty Senate’s CATA has been asked to provide, by October 26, nominations for persons to serve on the search committee. The search committee’s processes will begin as soon thereafter as it can start meeting. The president of the Faculty Senate suggests that if any faculty member wishes to nominate himself/herself or some other faculty member to serve on the search committee, that person should send a brief Statement of Interest and a CV for the person being nominated to the following email address: Senate2@temple.edu (for the Faculty Senate). The Faculty Senate would then forward the materials directly to CATA.
Eligibility Requirements for the Position of Provost
The following qualifications are required for eligibility to be considered for the position of provost: (1) the candidate must have the rank of professor in a Temple school/college; and (2) the candidate must have tenure in one of Temple’s academic departments.
The following qualifications are desirable in a candidate: (1) administrative experience at the department, school/college or university levels, or related experience such as, but not limited to, directing a research project or an academic program; (2) experience in teaching; (3) experience in funded research projects. The search committee in consultation with the acting president may identify other desirable qualifications, subject to the final approval of President- Elect Theobald.
Nominations (including self-nominations) will be solicited for candidates to be considered for the position of provost by the search committee. The nomination process shall be established by the search committee in consultation with the acting president.
The names of all nominees will be held in the strictest confidence by everyone involved in the process (the search committee members, search committee staff, nominators and the candidates themselves). All involved with the search will sign the standard confidentiality agreements that are currently signed by all members of search committees for positions of dean and senior university officer.
Strict confidentiality is essential for many reasons. Candidates themselves need to have the confidence that their names will not be disclosed. We do not want to disclose the names of candidates who are not selected. We need to have confidence in the search committee’s judgment during the search process.
Although the search will be conducted with strict confidentiality with respect to the identities of candidates, there is a need to balance transparency and confidentiality. Therefore, during and at the conclusion of the search process, the chair of the search committee shall be responsible for ensuring appropriate levels of transparency regarding the processes used by the search committee and general characteristics of the candidate pool the search committee considered. In doing so, special care must be taken to ensure that the reporting for the purposes of transparency not include any indicators that would disclose the identities of any candidate. Also, to ensure greater transparency, the chair of the search committee shall be responsible for identifying a small group of liaisons who will not serve on the search committee, but with whom the search committee will consult during the search process. The liaisons will not know the identities of any candidates. A liaison will be designated for each of the following areas: faculty, students and staff. The responsibility of the liaisons will be to take input from the various constituencies (e.g., with respect to the kinds of qualities that would be desirable in a provost) in order to provide the search committee with added information for its deliberations.
The search committee will review the credentials of all nominated candidates and interview a more selective group of candidates at its discretion. The search committee will recommend to Dr. Theobald three to five qualified finalists no later than February 1. Dr. Theobald will meet with the search committee for discussion of the finalists. At his discretion, Dr. Theobald will interview finalists and work with the Board of Trustees leadership and other constituencies in the final selection of the provost. Dr. Theobald will then announce the selection of the provost to the entire University community.
One final comment is in order. The provost is one of the most important roles in the university, after that of the president. The provost provides vision and leadership for and oversight of our academic units and our core mission. The provost collaborates closely with our outstanding faculty and students in ensuring that Temple continues to be a national leader among public research universities. The provost works hand-in-hand with our great deans to support our academic departments and programs in our education, research/creative and public service functions. Please give careful consideration to nominating outstanding candidates, including possibly yourself.
For all of us and the entire Temple family, this is an exciting time with tremendous opportunity as our new president prepares to take office. Thank you for all you do and all you will continue to do to make this university great.
Richard M. Englert