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December 9, 2002

Searches go on through holidays

By Michael Terrazas

Winter break 2002 arrives to find Emory in a period of transition, to say the least. President Bill Chace’s recent retirement announcement adds to the list of administrative vacancies the University will need to fill in the near future.

Following is an update of some of the higher profile searches ongoing in central University administration:

• President. Despite his initial announcement that he would step down from the presidency at the end of the 2002–03 academic year, Chace clarified in recent Faculty Council and University Senate meetings that he plans to remain in office until his successor “is actually sitting in [the president’s] chair, reading e-mail,” though he said ideally this would happen by Labor Day 2003.

Board of Trustees Chair Ben Johnson is charged with defining the search process for Emory’s next president, and said he could announce the composition of a search committee as early as this week. Johnson has been reviewing how peer institutions conduct presidential searches and said the committee that will guide Emory’s process will be representative of the University’s varied constituencies; that it will be made up of people who understand the needs of the University and can choose a candidate who meets those needs; and that combines the “best of Emory’s aspirations” in terms of academic excellence, diversity and service.

“Anyone who deals with this committee will be able to get the idea that this a good picture of what the University is,” said Johnson, who added that he anticipates holding a number of meetings in which the Emory community can express its own thoughts on the kind of
person that should be picked to lead it. Johnson also said it is “very realistic” that a successor to Chace could be in place by next summer.

• Provost. Following the departure of former Provost Rebecca Chopp in 2001, interim Provost Woody Hunter agreed to serve a two-year term in the office; those two years will be up next June. As president, Chace is responsible for launching a provost search, and he said recently that he, the trustees and possibly the next president (if one is named by this time) “will deliberate on any possible succession in the Office of the Provost” when Hunter’s initial two-year term is up.

• Emory College dean. Last month the search committee held a series of open meetings with faculty, staff and students to survey opinions on the kind of person needed to head the college. Some commonalities did exist, but committee chair Elaine Walker said each group of constituents brought its own perspective, with faculty wanting someone who blends teaching and research, staff speaking up for someone with management and leadership skills, and students hoping for a dean who is visible and active with the student body.

“Many of the concerns and opinions had already been raised in the search committee’s discussions,” Walker said. “This is not surprising, given that the committee is a diverse group. More than anything, the meetings helped us to more clearly articulate and reorder the priorities for the search.”

• Executive vice president and chief operating officer. John Temple announced early in the semester that he will retire at school year’s end. Chace, who is chairing a search committee that includes faculty, administrators and trustees, said the group “looks forward to interviewing the first candidates, about half a dozen of them, in very early January.”

• Vice provost for International Affairs. Work on this search began anew over the summer after Tom Arthur, who had been filling the position in interim capacity since former Vice Provost Marion Creekmore retired in 2000, accepted the deanship of the law school. Academic Affairs Vice Provost Harriet King is chairing a search committee that includes public health and nursing deans Jim Curran and Marla Salmon, respectively, Creekmore (who temporarily is back in his old job) and English Professor Ron Schuchard.

King said the committee has identified three finalists and hopes to make its decision before classes begin in January. “We have had wonderful candidates,” said King, who cited “high energy, a willingness to fund-raise, the ability to garner support from disparate sets of constituents and a knowledge of contacts in the wider world” as the chief attributes on which the committee focused in its efforts.