Provost Candidates Come to UVM

In late September, Madeline Kunin, former Governor of Vermont and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Political Science was appointed to chair a committee to help the President select the University’s next provost. Sixty-two applicants and nominations later, the committee has narrowed the search down to five extremely qualified, “well-accomplished” candidates, according to the committee’s Vice Chair, Dr. Betty Rambur, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The process for finding the next provost has taken very seriously by all involved. Filling the position with the right person is a top priority. When asked, many students have only a vague idea about what the Provost does. A typical answer is that he is the “assistant to the president,” or “he’s that guy who writes a lot of emails.”

Both of those responses are, though accurate, an understatement of what the position entails. Kunin elaborates on the importance of finding the right person for the job, “Whoever fills the position will serve many constituencies at UVM.” While the President is the public face of the university, the Provost deals mainly with the inner workings of the school.

Still, the provost works closely with the president and with the faculty to keep things running smoothly and the university growing. The committee understands this relationship very well, “It’s important that the next provost have the chemistry with president,” acknowledged Rambur. He is in charge of all the hiring’s and firings and is the “go-to” person for the dean of each college within the university.

Beginning February 13, the five candidates began coming to Vermont for the two-day long interview process. The first to come to UVM was Virginia Sapiro who is currently the University of Wisconsin Interim Provost. This week Uday Sukhatme came from the University of Buffalo and was very well received.

Sukhatme gave a power point at this week’s Open Forum on February 23 that demonstrated his understanding of the position as one that is for “facilitating aspirations” of the faculty. His speech also made clear his goals for assisting in President Fogel’s vision for our growing university.

Yet to come are three remaining candidates, John Hughes, Ramon Gutierrez, and Jay Noren. The schedule for their respective Open Forums are posted on the UVM website for the Office of the President, under Provost Search.