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Provost Search Update

William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe sent a message to the campus community Oct. 24, 2018 - Ed.

Dear W&M Community,

As you know, after more than a decade of inspired and dedicated service to William & Mary, Provost Michael Halleran has decided to step down at the end of this academic year. The search for his successor is now underway and I write to share details of the process at this early stage. Over the last month, I have consulted widely on this community’s aspirations for the provost’s role going forward. This email captures some of the early, still evolving ideas. I expect to announce William & Mary’s next provost in early spring.

A website, will incorporate updates on our timeline as the search unfolds. The website is also an easy way for members of the community to share thoughts about the role. The chair of the search committee, committee members, and I welcome your input as we fully develop the desired characteristics and a position description for William & Mary’s next chief academic officer.

Best regards,

Katherine A. Rowe


Early reflections on the provost’s role

Reporting to president, the provost serves as the chief academic officer of William & Mary and is second-in-command for the university. The provost ensures excellence in teaching, learning, research and service at William & Mary. In partnership with the president, the Board of Visitors, and other university leaders, he or she is responsible for aligning resources with our academic mission, now and for the future. One of our professors has described the role exceptionally well:

Beyond contributing her/his own ideas, the Provost also assumes the role of Chief Innovation Officer; in that capacity she/he champions a culture and process of innovation by helping others explore and identify the right problems to solve, inspiring and coaching others in generating a wide variety of ideas, and enabling a robust pipeline of possible solutions through an intentional focusing of resources on those with the most promise.        

The search committee

I am grateful to Vice Provost Ann Marie Stock for agreeing to chair the search. She will lead a 15-member search committee, whose membership spans William & Mary’s diverse modes of work, disciplines, and constituencies. The committee includes faculty members, each of whom was recommended by the Faculty Assembly and who collectively represent a range of disciplinary backgrounds, methodologies, schools, and programs. They are complemented by staff members, administrators, a member of the Board of Visitors and a representative from the Student Assembly, who add broad perspectives on the diverse academic operations of the university. The committee includes undergraduate and graduate alumni of William & Mary as well. In selecting this group, establishing a “whole institution” mindset was critical – a theme emphasized by the Faculty Assembly.

The committee is tasked with recommending a few finalists to me for a final decision, and I will meet regularly with the committee during its work. Isaacson, Miller, a search firm with significant experience in this realm, will facilitate the process.

The search process

A confidential search process is essential to attracting the best and most diverse applicant pool in a search for a senior academic leader. For this reason, candidates in this search will not be named publicly. That said, consultation beyond the search committee will be extraordinarily valuable to the search process and to my decision. So the final phase of the search, on campus, will incorporate confidentially an expanded group of campus leaders to provide feedback. This expanded group will include additional representation from all constituencies included in the search committee.