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February 9, 2018

Provost Search Committee Members Announced, ‘Very Strong Slate’ of Candidates Expected

The 24-person search committee for the University’s next provost has been formed, said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher at the Jan. 24 meeting of Senate Council. During his report, Gallagher invited Rob A. Rutenbar, senior vice chancellor for research and the committee chair, to speak to those in attendance.

The committee — described as “awesome” by Rutenbar — had met that same day with what he called key stakeholder groups, including deans, associate deans and the Senate’s executive committee. The committee, he said, would gather feedback from the University community at town hall meetings. (Two town hall meetings for faculty and staff were held on Feb. 5.)

Once feedback is gathered, the next steps, he said, will be posting a description of the job opening and the commencement of recruiting, a process to be led by a search firm.

“I think it’s going to be a very exciting semester, and everyone is excited about both the institution and the visibility of the city as a great attractant for candidates for this current job,” said Rutenbar.

“The info we have from the search firm is we’re probably one of the most desirable positions in market at this time, so we’re expecting a very strong slate of external and internal candidates,” Gallagher added.

The committee members are:

  • Ariel Armony, director of the University Center for International Studies
  • Janet Asbury, College of General Studies Student Government Board
  • Arjang Assad, Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
  • Ivet Bahar, John K. Vries Chair of the Department of Computational and Systems Biology
  • Kathleen Blee, Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
  • Kenyon Bonner, vice provost and dean of students
  • Douglas M. Browning, trustee
  • Mary Ellen Callahan, trustee
  • Christopher Cook, faculty member in the Department of Political Science at Pitt–Johnstown
  • Susan Fullerton, faculty member in the Swanson School of Engineering
  • Shelome Gooden, chair and faculty member in the Department of Linguistics
  • Michael Goodhart, faculty member in the Department of Political Science
  • Tao Han, faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Graham Hatfull, faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences
  • Anthony Infanti, faculty member in the School of Law
  • Maria Kovacs, faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry
  • Jeanne Marie Laskas, faculty member in the Department of English
  • Clarissa Leon, Graduate and Professional Student Government
  • Krishani Patel, Student Government Board
  • Fiona Seels, staff member in the School of Education
  • Sanjeev Shroff, faculty member in the Swanson School of Engineering
  • Sharon Smith, president of Pitt–Greensburg
  • Cindy Tananis, secretary of the University Senate and faculty member in the School of Education

Title IX Office a Resource for University Community

Gallagher spoke about the sexual harassment claims that were the subject of a December 2017 Ms. magazine blog post by a former communication faculty member. The chancellor had addressed the controversy in a Dec. 20 message assuring the University community that Pitt would launch an investigation.

He asked those in attendance to educate other members of the University community about the Title IX Office’s existence as a resource.

“Information is a valuable thing. If we’re going to make things better and address problems, the most important thing is that those channels are open, and if somebody has a concern, they can report it, and that we handle those appropriately,” said Gallagher.

Federal Tax Legislation

The chancellor outlined how the University is most affected by federal tax legislation that was passed in December. The impacted areas include:

  • Employee pre-tax parking and transit passes. Pitt will be required to pay about $1.2 million yearly in unrelated business income tax.
  • Charitable deduction limit. The limit rose from 50 to 60 percent of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income.
  • Athletic priority seating. Donations related to priority seating for athletic events are not eligible for deductions.


Katie Fike,, 412-624-1085


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