Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:
It is with great pleasure that I write to you today to identify Dr. Ana Mari Cauce as my preferred candidate for University Provost. As a long-time member of the UW faculty and as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Ana Mari is, of course, well known to many in our University community. She is a distinguished scholar and a seasoned leader. Her emergence through this exclusively internal search strongly confirms my initial belief that a dedicated and talented provost could be found within the existing faculty of this great institution.
As the penultimate step in this selection process, I will be working with Ana Mari to set up one or more opportunities for members of the University community to hear her discuss her plans as our chief academic officer, to ask questions, and to share with me any feedback you would like me to consider. This public process will take place prior to any formal confirmation of this appointment.
Many of you are aware that as the primary means of public participation in this selection process I had intended to rely on the broad composition of the Provost Search Committee—comprising faculty, staff, and students—and its solicitation of ideas from all of you. And the committee took this duty very seriously, conducting a University-wide survey and holding fifteen public meetings across our three campuses to hear from faculty, staff, and students on the qualities they hoped to see in our new provost. The committee spent hundreds of hours listening to the views of members of our community.
The extent to which provost finalists are made public, if at all, has varied over the history of the UW and continues to be handled in a variety of ways by the UW’s world-class peers. For this strictly internal search, I felt that the advantages of the open identification of one or more finalists were outweighed by the prospect of losing good candidates. I have, however, recently received a number of messages from faculty—many of them quite thoughtful—suggesting that the faculty at large at least be given a chance to review and comment on my preferred choice for this important position. Recognizing that they are offered with the University’s best interests in mind, I have taken these suggestions to heart and decided to create the additional public step I have described above. I trust it will add value to this process and help put the new Provost in the best position to undertake her duties.
Finally, I am deeply grateful to the Search Committee for its hard work and diligence in assessing the many qualified candidates that came to its attention and for enabling us to move ahead so swiftly to fill this leadership position during this challenging time. I also appreciate those of you who took the time to offer me your considered views and thoughts on the best approach to completing this process.
Michael K. Young