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November 30, 2017

Search Committee for Next Provost Begins Formation With Faculty Nominations

A search committee of faculty, staff and students is being formed to begin a collaborative process to find the University’s next provost.

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson recently announced that she will step down from her administrative role and return to Pitt’s economics faculty. Beeson, who has led the University’s academic vision since 2010, will remain in the position until her replacement is found.

The objective of the committee, said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, will be to find the best person to succeed Beeson as the University’s chief academic officer. According to Gallagher, that process will closely mirror the process from more than seven years ago to appoint Beeson, with faculty members again playing an important role in the selection of the new leader.

He anticipates that a new provost could assume his or her new role by the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.

“Patty’s record of accomplishment has been tremendous, and the search for a successor of her caliber will require the collective brainpower of all corners of the University,” said Gallagher. “This is an exciting time for Pitt academically, and the next provost will have to harness the talents of the University community to further our standing as a top-tier institution.”

A search firm consultant has not yet been determined.

Rob A. Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research, will chair the search committee.

“This process will be thorough and inclusive,” Rutenbar said. “The University community must work together to ensure we find a leader who will build upon Provost Beeson’s work and drive us to greater academic excellence as a relevant and competitive global research university.”

Six openings for faculty representation on the committee have been allocated to Senate Council. In a Nov. 20 email to faculty, Senate President Frank Wilson requested self-nominations from faculty members who want to join the committee. The deadline for self-nominations is Dec. 1.

Six elected faculty members will represent four categories: the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (two openings), the professional schools overseen by the Office of the Provost (two), the Schools of the Health Sciences (one) and the regional campuses (one).

After confirming the committee candidates’ eligibility, the Senate Council’s nominating committee will select eight faculty members from each category for voters’ consideration, said Wilson. Those names will be released Dec. 4.

From then until Dec. 14, faculty members who gather signatures from at least 5 percent of their respective areas may petition to be added to the slate as a candidate for the search committee.

To be eligible to vote in the general election — which is anticipated to begin on Dec. 15 — faculty members must also be eligible to be members of Faculty Assembly.

The staff and student appointments on the committee will be made in accordance with the Guidelines for Search Committees for Senior Academic Administrators. According to Wilson, Gallagher will review the committee and make changes if necessary to ensure the committee has a diverse membership reflective of the University community.

Beyond the committee formation, the search process to involve all stakeholders in the University community will soon become active. First steps will include discussions with the community through town halls, faculty meetings and similar functions to draft sought-after characteristics of the next provost.


Katie Fike,, 412-624-1085


Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 8

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