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Report of the Consultative Committee for the
Selection of a Provost

The Consultative Committee for the Selection of a Provost was convened by President Amy Gutmann on September 29, 2004. The Committee met as a whole on 11 occasions and formally reported its recommendations to the President on March 2, 2005.

The Committee was chaired by Arthur H. Rubenstein, Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President of the University for the Health System. The Committee members were:


Lawrence D. Brown, Statistics

Lance Donaldson-Evans, Romance Languages

Roselyn Eisenberg, Microbiology

Oscar H. Gandy, Communication

Robert C. Hornik, Communication

Howard Lesnick, Law

Rebecca A. Maynard, Education

Mary D. Naylor, Nursing

Harvey Rubin, Infectious Diseases

Greg Urban, Anthropology

John Vohs, Biomolecular Engineering


Jason Levine, Undergraduate in the College, Chair of the UA, 2004-2005

Samantha R. Springer, Undergraduate in the College, Chair of SCUE, 2004-2005

Ann Tiao, Ph.D. candidate in Education, President of GSAC, 2004-2005

Simi R. Wilhelm, Ph.D. student in Education, Chair of GAPSA, 2004-2005

The search was supported by Dr. Stephen P. Steinberg of the Office of the President, and John Isaacson, Barbara Stevens, and Philip Jaeger of the search firm of Isaacson, Miller.

The vacancy was announced (and input invited from the entire Penn community) in Almanac and posted for two months on the Jobs@Penn website. It was advertised in the Chronicle of Education, Philadelphia Inquirer, Women in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, and Black Issues in Higher Education.

The Committee conducted 35 informational interviews with individuals and groups in the Penn community to understand the scope, expectations, and challenges of the Provost position, as well as many informal contacts. Based on these conversations, the President’s charge to the Committee, and its own subsequent discussions, the Committee prepared a comprehensive 24-page document outlining the scope of the position, the challenges a new Provost will face, and the qualities needed in a new Provost. Guided by the goals of the Penn Compact, the Committee identified moving teaching and research from excellence to eminence—by building the faculty, integrating knowledge, enhancing the undergraduate experience, and effectively managing Penn’s resources—as fundamental strategic tasks facing a new Provost.

To meet these challenges, the Committee sought to identify individuals with the following experience and personal qualities:

• A distinguished teacher, scholar, and academic leader, who brings a passion for students, research, and academic engagement with the wider world.

• An experienced academic administrator with a track record of success in a large, complex research institution.

• An open and accessible leader who has a personal interest in Penn’s faculty and students and the richness of their academic and non-academic lives. 

• An appreciation for the importance of diversity to the richness of the Penn experience and to Penn’s success.

• An excellent collaborator who can partner with the President and convene, lead, inspire and motivate Penn’s outstanding deans to lead their schools to greater success. 

• A confident leader who can appreciate and integrate the deans’ critical insights regarding Penn’s future and thereby achieve an ambitious agenda for the development of a better University.

• A superb communicator and spokesperson for the academic mission of the University, for the faculty, for the students and for Penn as a community of scholars. 

• A tireless advocate for the President’s and Penn’s commitment to eminence, access, interdisciplinary research and teaching, and engagement in the community and the world.

• A person of high energy, absolute integrity, and enthusiastic optimism. 

• An ability to lead boldly and effectively, despite the ever-present nuances and ambiguity of complex situations and a highly consultative and collaborative institutional culture.

• A person of impeccable academic judgment, with an understanding of and respect for scholarship and research across the entire range of Penn’s academic endeavors.

• An astute understanding of University finances and the relationship between academic priorities and the budget.

• The ability to make tough decisions and stick with them because they are right for the University.

• A person who derives greater satisfaction from institutional success than from personal recognition.  

The Committee considered a pool of some 119 candidates, applicants, nominees, and prospects.  Based on voluntary self-identifications and other sources, the pool consisted of 87 men and 32 women, and at least 23 persons of color (11 African-Americans, 3 Hispanics, and 9 Asians). Fourteen members of the pool were from within the University community. The Committee selected 20 individuals for closer examination, and then 14 candidates for semi-finalist interviews with subcommittees, and ultimately, 7 finalists who were interviewed at length by the entire Committee. From these, the Committee recommended four extraordinary individuals, from both inside and outside the University, for President Gutmann’s consideration.

On April 25, 2005, President Gutmann announced her selection of one of the four candidates recommended by the Consultative Committee—Ronald J. Daniels, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto—as her choice to be the 28th Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. He will take office on July 1, 2005 after being presented to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania for final approval on June 17, 2005.

—Arthur H. Rubenstein, Chair,
Consultative Committee for the Selection of a Provost



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 31, May 3, 2005


May 3, 2005
Volume 51 Number 31


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