Aiming to begin screening candidates next month, administrators have drafted a description of an ideal candidate for a new university provost and will soon hold a town hall meeting to gather student input.
In a leadership statement, the committee of students, faculty and staff that is spearheading the search outlined the qualities they are seeking in a replacement for current Provost James O’Donnell, who announced his retirement in August. O’Donnell has been at the university since 2002 but will step down at the end of the academic year.
According to Committee Chair Wayne Davis, the search committee has determined that previous experience is the most important factor in choosing the next provost.
“Our main priority is an outstanding academic record,” said Davis, who is also chair of the philosophy department and president of the faculty senate.
Candidates’ administrative skills, previous published works and respect for [the] university’s Jesuit values are also important.
“We’re looking for someone to increase diversity and build the sense of community we’ve got,” Davis said. “Taken for granted … is personal integrity. For as we know, sometimes presidents and provosts run amok. Fortunately, we haven’t had that happen.”
The committee will begin reviewing applications in early January and hopes to present three candidates to University President John J. DeGioia by March, according to Davis.
The university has hired Witt/Kieffer, a professional recruitment firm, to identify qualified candidates in academia. Witt/Kieffer previously led the searches for the Dean of the School of Foreign Service-Qatar, the Dean of the McDonough School of Business and the President of the university.
Jeanne Lord, associate vice president for student affairs, will meet with a select group of students in the next week to further discuss what the university is looking for in O’Donnell’s replacement.
“We wanted to have some student input before we departed for the holiday,” Davis said.
The search committee, along with the Georgetown University Student Association, plans to hold a town hall for the student body early next semester. GUSA Vice President Greg Laverriere (COL ’12) is excited for the students to have an opportunity to share their input.
“We have a real opportunity to shape the next provost, because it’s someone that will be around for the next 10 years,” he said. “There’s a lot of [good] that the next provost can do in helping shape the curriculum and the way Georgetown functions, so I think it’s very important that we have someone who [pays] attention to detail and can also connect with students. Because while they do serve all faculty, it’s very important that they learn about students’ progress.”
Hoya Staff Writer Sam Rodman contributed to this report.