Kim fast tracks Provost search

By Campus Editor

New president Kwang-WU Kim urgently began the search for Columbia’s next provost, the second highest position at the college, began Aug. 20 by forming of a 16-member search committee.

The committee members, including co-chairs Kim and Onye Ozuzu, chair of the Dance Department, have signed confidentiality agreements, according to Kim. Members were chosen by various faculty representative organizations including the Chair’s Council, Faculty Senate and P-Fac, Columbia’s part-time faculty union, according to an Aug. 28 administrative email. The committee will be working with Isaacson, Miller, the same executive search firm that assisted the college during the presidential search process, the email stated. 

Kim said finding a provost is one of  his highest priorities. 

“It’s important that when I’m not here there is a clear indication of who is in charge, and I want that to be the [provost],” he said.

According to the email, finalists will visit the campus during either January or February 2014. Louise Love, who has been interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs since 2011, said she plans to retire after the provost is selected. 

“It’s the president’s prerogative … to want to choose his own provost because they are going to be working so closely together,” Love said. “It’s been assumed that when I took over as provost that the college would be doing a search when a new president was hired.” 

 The new provost will gain

control of current structures of the 

college, such as the registrar, admissions and enrollment management, which currently fall under the office of Student Affairs, Kim said.  Therefore, the provost position has the official title senior vice president and provost, according to an Aug. 28 email to the college community. Warren Chapmen is the current senior vice president.

Throughout the search process, Kim said he will retain the right to veto any potential candidates and will have final say on who is hired for the position. 

Ozuzu said her role as co-chair is to facilitate conversations among members of the search committee. 

“It feels like an amazing opportunity to contribute to a team that is learning about our new president and teaching him about who we are as we envision the future shape of the provost position,” Ozuzu said.

Kim said he is seeking someone who considers learning outcomes and engagements and has experience leading innovative curriculum design and academic processes such as tenure. 

Ozuzu said she hopes the new provost will help lead the college into the future.

“I hope the new provost will bring a systemic elegance, like a 21st century sense that really helps to bring out all of the incredible talent [at the college],” Ozuzu said.

Bruce Sheridan, chair of the Film & Video Department, said the search for the provost should take priority because the president needs to begin working with the new academic leader of the college soon to further his vision.

Sheridan said the provost will ideally be flexible because the fields of arts and media are constantly changing.

“[The provost] has to have a vision for the future of education and a plausible and imaginable way to get to the future,” Sheridan said.

Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, said he is confident the committee will make efforts to attract the most qualified candidate for the job.

“We need someone with academic vision and someone who can galvanize our faculty and the college to better educate our students,”

he said.