In a press release on Nov. 9, 2006, UR President Joel Seligman announced that Provost Richard Phelps would be retiring in 2007 after 13 years of service and that a search for a new provost would begin in December.

“He’s been an amazingly important provost on the national scene and is highly respected,” Seligman said about Phelps in the November press release. “He also has played an extraordinary role in shaping our University leadership by chairing searches for a dozen senior leaders.”

The Provost is the second-ranking officer in the administrative hierarchy and plays a crucial role in the academic life of the University. In order to find the best person to fill the position, the University selected the Witt/Kieffer firm, one of the nation’s leading executive academic search firms, to work with a 12-person search committee, which is made up of professors from diverse fields and chaired by Seligman.

As chief academic officer, the Provost is in charge of overseeing and monitoring the University’s entire academic activity, including matters such as the curriculum, academic budget, strategic planning, faculty appointments and approvals for tenure and promotion, approvals of doctoral degrees, teaching and research.

The Provost acts as a liaison between the faculty and the administration; he ensures that the faculty’s points of view are heard in University decision-making. Additionally, the Provost is responsible for showcasing the University’s academics to the rest of the world. In this respect, as UR is soon to embark on its largest campaign ever, his role will become increasingly more important, as the new Provost will have to represent UR at a large number of events.

The search for a new Provost began in December, and the application review process has just gotten under way on Jan. 15. The search will remain open until the position is filled. Candidates were asked to provide a curriculum vitae, a letter of application and five references. The materials were submitted to the consulting firm for initial review.

“Most candidates are from the United States, but we will gladly consider a qualified candidate from any nation,” Seligman said when asked about the candidates. Once the committee chooses finalists, they move to the next step in the selection process: a series of interviews with the senior leadership group of the university and the Medical Center, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and a Board of Trustees Advisory Committee.

“It is early yet, but we have received a number of very impressive nominations,” Seligman said of the review process.

The University’s motto, “Meliora” is symbolic of the University’s uninterrupted improvement since its establishment in 1850. The new Provost must possess the qualities necessary to fulfill this ideal of being “ever better,” which is the motto’s translation. These include academic accomplishments, management and financial expertise, commitment to excellence and diversity and strong interpersonal skills.

“It is my hope to be able to announce a new provost before the end of the spring semester,” Seligman said.

Barbosu is a member of the class of 2010.

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