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The Dartmouth
May 22, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

College juggles provost position

Dean of the Faculty James Wright yesterday accepted his appointment as acting provost of the College.

In a statement to the Dartmouth community issued yesterday, College President James Freedman said Wright will assume his new position on Jan. 1 and will serve for 18 months while the College searches for a new provost.

Wright will occupy the position left vacant by Lee Bollinger, who has been provost since 1994. Bollinger accepted the presidency at the University of Michigan on November 5 and will begin at Michigan in February.

The provost is the College's chief academic officer. The provost works closely with the President and College deans to oversee the affairs of the College as well as the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth Medical School and Thayer School of Engineering.

The provost's jurisdiction also includes the administration of admissions and financial aid, computing services, the Dickey Center for International Understanding, facilities planning, the Hood Museum of Art, the Hopkins Center, the libraries, the Office of Public Affairs, the Office of Student Affairs and the Tucker Foundation.

Wright will remain Dean of the Faculty until June 30, when the second of his four year terms expires, Freedman wrote in the memo. Until June, Wright will hold the dual offices of provost and dean of the faculty.

Wright said balancing working as dean of the faculty and provost will be difficult.

"Each of them are major responsibilities," he said. "It will obviously be difficult."

Wright said the yearlong search for a new provost will be delayed until the committee chooses a new Dean of Faculty.

Wright said Freedman "did not want to have both searches running simultaneously."

A committee chaired by Mary Hudson, chair of physics and astronomy, is conducting an internal search for a new dean of the faculty.

Wright said he is looking forward to assuming his position as provost and working with the professional schools.

"I want to pick up some of the things Dean Bollinger has worked on," Wright said.

Wright said he will count on "good colleagues in this office and in the provost's office" for assistance.

Wright said the Baker-Berry Library expansion is one of the main projects he will inherit from Bollinger.

"I will be in close contact with [Bollinger] over the next month and in close contact after that," Wright said. "I value very much his judgment and insights."

In his letter, Freedman indicated he thinks Wright will be an extremely capable provost.

"Dean Wright has provided both innovative leadership and steadfast stewardship in several crucial roles, including that of Dartmouth's acting president in 1995, a post he filled with distinction," Freedman wrote in his memo.

"We are indeed fortunate that he has accepted this important position, and I am deeply grateful to Jim for his continued dedication, inspiring leadership and tireless efforts on Dartmouth's behalf," he wrote in his memo.

Wright is a history professor and has been a member of the College's faculty since 1969. He was appointed Dean of Faculty in 1989 and again in 1995 he served as acting President while Freedman was on sabbatical.