September 22, 2003

Wagner names search committee for provost

Michael Terrazas

President Jim Wagner announced last week the membership of a search advisory committee charged with conducting a national search to locate candidates for a new provost.

The need for such a search became critical when former interim provost Woody Hunter announced in August that he would begin a sabbatical on Sept. 1. The provostship has not had a permanent occupant since Rebecca Chopp left Emory in the spring of 2001.

Wagner said the committee will be charged with finding “two to four stellar candidates” for the position, from which the finalist will be selected and recruited with additional input and support from the University community. He said he hopes the committee will complete its work in “just a few months” and that Emory should have a new provost well before the beginning of the 2004–05 academic year.

The committee members include:

Kent Alexander, senior vice president and general counsel.

Ron Braithwaite, professor, Rollins School of Public Health.

Euler Bropleh, Emory College senior, president of the Student Government Association.

Martine Brownley, Goodrich C. White Professor of English.

Lucas Carpenter, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English, Oxford.

Ron Gould, Goodrich C. White Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Tom Lawley, dean, School of Medicine.

Mike Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration.

Bobby Paul, dean, Emory College.

Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing.

Carol Worthman, Samuel C. Dobbs Professor of Anthropology.

“The committee’s work is the first phase of the recruiting process,” Wagner said. “The finalists they put forward will have additional exposure to a broad variety of the Emory community, all of whom will be invited to share their impressions and recommendations with me.”

Speaking to a meeting of the Faculty Council Sept. 16, Wagner said he would make the final decision on the candidate to be presented to the Board of Trustees. “After stage two, the process becomes very undemocratic,” he said. “That’s the way it needs to be; that’s where I earn my keep.”

Asked what qualities he would be looking for in a provost, Wagner cited experience in academic leadership and a set of values consistent with both Emory’s and his own; the president and the provost spend a great deal of time together, he said, and “it helps when dreaming about new horizons or addressing difficult issues to know that our ideas will come from a common foundation of shared fundamentel principles.”

“At this particular ‘season’ of Emory University, this person will need to help champion Emory’s leadership in the ‘new’ liberal learning, working closely with the college and Dean Paul; will provide leadership for graduate and professional education; and will partner closely with our executive vice president for health affairs, Michael Johns, to help advance research and education programming in the health sciences,” Wagner said.

At this point, Wagner said he will not appoint another interim provost to serve until the search is completed, relying on the President’s Cabinet, himself and staff in the provost’s office to perform the necessary duties. However he said he may revisit the issue as the search unfolds.