The Ad Hoc Consultative Committee for the Selection of a Provost was convened by President Amy Gutmann on December 14, 2016. During its four months of work, the full Committee met on 10 occasions and reported its recommendations to the President on April 13, 2017. The Committee members were:
J. Larry Jameson, Executive Vice President of the University for the Health System, Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine, and Robert G. Dunlop Professor, PSOM
Sigal Ben-Porath, Professor, Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division, GSE
Ezekiel Dixon-Román, Associate Professor, SP2
Julie Fairman, Nightingale Professor in Nursing; Chair, Biobehavioral Health Sciences Department; Director Emerita, Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing; Co-Director, RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars Program, Nursing
Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, Chair and Professor of Pathology, SDM
Carolina Lopez, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Vet
Michael McGarvey, Associate Professor of Neurology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, PSOM
Katherine Milkman, Associate Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, Wharton
Eve Troutt Powell, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of History and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, SAS
Santosh Venkatesh, Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering, SEAS, and Chair-Elect, Faculty Senate
Melissa Wilde, Associate Professor of Sociology, SAS
Christopher Yoo, John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science, Law; Director, Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition, Law School
Kat McKay, C’17 (President of the Undergraduate Assembly)
Gaurav Shukla, student in the Master of Medical Physics Program, SAS (President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly)
Jane Xiao, C’17 (External Chair of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education)
Fan (Alex) Yang, doctoral candidate, SEAS (Vice President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly)
Joann Mitchell, Senior Vice President for Institutional Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer
The search was supported by Adam P. Michaels, Deputy Chief of Staff in the President’s Office, and John Isaacson, John Muckle and Gregory Esposito of the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.
The Committee and its consultants conducted informational interviews and consultative meetings with individuals and groups throughout the Penn community, as well as many informal contacts, in order to better understand the scope, expectations, and challenges of the Provost’s position and the opportunities facing the University in the years ahead. These consultative activities included full Committee meetings with Provost Vincent Price; Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli; Vice Provosts Anita Allen, Dawn Bonnell, Ezekiel Emanuel, Valarie Ena Swain-Cade McCoullum, Carton Rogers, and Beth Winkelstein; Dean of Admissions Eric Furda; Director of the Division of Recreation and Intercollegiate Athletics M. Grace Calhoun; and Williams Director of the Penn Museum Julian Siggers. In addition, the Chair and the Committee members held open meetings for faculty and staff. The consultants interviewed administrators throughout the Provost’s Center and dozens of individuals and groups in the Penn community and sought nominations from presidents, provosts, and deans across the nation and the world as well as from leaders in government, foundations, academic societies and other organizations. Finally, members of the Committee engaged in extensive networking with Penn faculty and students, as well as colleagues at other institutions. The Committee also solicited advice and nominations from all Penn faculty, Deans, and senior administrators via email, and reviewed a variety of documents about the University.
Based upon these conversations and materials, the Committee’s charge from the President, and the Committee’s own discussions, a comprehensive document was prepared outlining the scope of the position and the challenges a new Provost will face, as well as the qualities sought in a new Provost. The vacancy was announced and input invited from the entire Penn community (Almanac January 10, 2017).
The Committee sought candidates with an uncompromising commitment to academic excellence, impeccable academic judgment, distinguished academic credentials and experience, and a steadfast and unwavering ethical compass. Candidates were asked to demonstrate a track record of achievement as an energetic, strong, and collaborative leader and administrator, providing evidence of a capacity to lead Penn’s academic enterprise in pursuit of the University’s highest priorities as articulated in Penn Compact 2020. The Committee sought evidence of candidates’ commitment to diversity in all its forms (i.e., racial, gender, socio-economic, intellectual, methodological, disciplinary, etc.). Evidence was also sought of success as an interdisciplinary thinker and to realizing Penn’s unique opportunities to advance the integration of knowledge through collaborative activities across traditional scholarly and institutional boundaries. Other key criteria included being a strategic, visionary and entrepreneurial leader with a proven ability to advance innovative understanding and discovery; a global outlook, with a strong commitment to leading efforts to strengthen Penn’s strategic engagement with local, national and international communities; an articulate, enthusiastic and effective communicator with the highest aspirations for Penn’s standing and reputation; and a commitment, ability and desire to broadly engage the University community, collaborate with the President, the Deans, and the faculty, staff and students, and function as a key member of the University’s senior management team.
Over the course of its four-month search process, the Committee and its consultants contacted and considered more than 160 individuals for the position. From these, the Committee selected 12 individuals for semi-finalist interviews with the entire Committee. Based on voluntary self-identifications and other sources, we believe the initial pool of 163 applicants, candidates, and nominees contained 56 women and 107 men, and 21 African-Americans and nine Latinos. The six individuals recommended for consideration to the President included one African-American and one woman and were selected from this group of 12 semi-finalists.
On April 26, 2017, President Gutmann announced the selection of Dr. Wendell Pritchett, Gr’97, as Provost. Dr. Pritchett is a celebrated teacher and scholar of urban policy, education, civil rights and race relations, an accomplished leader and administrator, and a passionate advocate for academic excellence and civic engagement. He assumed his office on July 1, 2017 after ratification by the Trustees at their June meeting.
—J. Larry Jameson, Chair of the Ad Hoc Consultative Committee for the Selection of a Provost