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Internal search speeds provost selection

Along with the provost position, Temple looks to fill dean vacancies.

The search for a permanent university provost has begun, with candidates to be selected internally from tenured faculty.

Acting President Richard Englert released an announcement through university communications earlier this month, well before future president Neil Theobald assumes his position on Jan. 1, 2013. Interim Provost Hai-Lung Dai, former dean of the College of Science and Technology, assumed the position in July after Englert became the acting president.

Englert cited the need to begin appointing permanent deanships as the reason for starting the search before Theobald’s arrival. The search for deans will include both internal and external candidates, and is scheduled to begin immediately, Englert said in an interview with The Temple News.

Four schools, including the College of Education, the College of Health Professions and Social Work, the College of Science and Technology, the School of Media and Communication, as well as University Libraries, are currently run by interim or acting deans.

Both Englert and Theobald stated that the decision to conduct an internal search for the next provost was a mutual decision between both of them.

“Dr. Theobald, I think, is really smart in recognizing that he comes from outside the university,” Engert said. “He recognizes he needs there a team member who understands the university, who understands how the university works, knows the faculty and is very familiar with the history of how the university operates.”

An internal search will expedite the process of finding a new provost, potentially allowing the university to fill the position by February — an important factor in the search for new deans, Englert said.

“When people apply for deanships, one of the first things they are going to say is, ‘Who is the president, who is the provost?’” Englert said, adding that it would be optimal for the university to have new deans in place by the beginning of Fall 2013.

Due to the confidentiality of the search process, it is unknown whether Dai will be nominated for the permanent provost position, or what role he will fill in the nomination and selection process.

Candidates who will be considered must be tenured faculty members who have administrative experience. The committee will meet to decide what personal qualities they wish to see in a candidate, Englert said, while noting that leadership will be a broad factor in the decision.

“It would be premature for me to say any specific qualities, but obviously somebody who is a great academic leader, academic leadership is critical for provost,” Englert said.

The committee will release a more detailed list of qualities being looked at in prospective candidates, in order to give faculty a better understanding of how to apply, Assistant Vice President of University Communications Ray Betzner said.

The search will be headed by a committee consisting of three tenured or tenure-track faculty members, two students including a representative from Temple Student Government, a graduate school nominee, three deans, one university officer and one non-faculty staff member. Englert said the committee will be formed by the end of this week.

TSG Student Body President David Lopez said he plans to accept the nomination on behalf of TSG.

“I think we have seen a lot of changes and can expect a lot of changes as far as everything related to athletics, and just the pride of the university as a whole, so the academics need to excel at the same pace, that’s the most important thing, and that’s kind of the job of the provost at the end of the day,” Lopez said. “I think someone within the university would be best fit to fill that role.”

The committee process will depend on the schedules of those appointed, Englert said, and will typically review nominated candidates and ask to look over résumés before narrowing down to a pool of three to five finalists to review with President Theobald.

Theobald will ultimately have the final call in which candidate is submitted to the Board of Trustees for appointment in February 2013.

John Moritz can be reached at john.moritz@temple.edu or on Twitter @JCMoritzTU.

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