Provost search placed on hold

by Jennifer Hickey | 10/24/97 5:00am

In the wake of College President James Freedman's announcement that he will step down after Commencement, the Board of Trustees has suspended the search for a new provost until Freedman's replacement is named in spring of 1998, college officials said Wednesday.

By delaying the search for a provost, the second highest-ranking administrator at Dartmouth, the Trustees will enable the incoming president to have a voice in his selection, said psychology professor Catherine Cramer, the chair of the committee that nominates candidates for the Provost Selection Committee.

Former Faculty Dean James Wright will serve as provost until a successor is named.

It is likely that more and better-qualified candidates will apply for the provost position once the name of the new president is publicized, College President James Freedman said.

Postponing the search for Wright's successor means that the College will avoid having to look for both a new president and a new provost simultaneously -- a difficult proposition.

"The president usually likes to make his or her own 'team,'" Freedman explained. "Very definitely, the new president will be involved in the search."

Earlier this fall, close to 60 percent of the College's faculty signed a petition to express support for making Wright the provost for a full four-year term. The petition came in response to a few faculty members' complaints that Freedman skipped the appropriate search process when he appointed Wright provost in July.

Wright, who served as acting provost from January until his appointment to the position by Freedman in July, announced he will step down as provost effective June 30, 1998. He declined to comment yesterday.

The future president will have a vested interest in the selection of the new provost, since the two officials work together closely.

The chief academic officer of the College, the provost oversees the operations of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, the Thayer School of Engineering and the Dartmouth Medical School.

The provost also oversees a wide variety of departments, such as the College's library and computing systems, the Hopkins Center and Hood Museum, and the Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Tucker Foundation.

The searches for a new engineering school dean and medical school dean will continue despite the halt of the provost search, Freedman said. Elsa Garmire resigned as Thayer School dean over the summer, and Charles Hutchinson is serving as acting dean until a permanent replacement is appointed. DMS Dean Andrew Wallace has announced his intention to step down effective this June.