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Memorandum April 23, 2018

AU Community
Sylvia M. Burwell, President
Provost Search

In early March, we announced that, after ten years of leadership and service to American University, Provost Scott Bass would step down from the role of provost and transition to his faculty appointment in the School of Public Affairs. I'm writing you today with an update on our progress toward naming his successor.

Today, I am excited to mark three new steps in our search—all of which you can also find on our website.

First, we have laid out a timeline for this search. Our Search Committee, identified below, will meet regularly beginning in May, as we also convene campus stakeholders for input. We plan to conduct candidate interviews in the fall semester. Input from the AU community is essential to finding the right leader for this position, so we will provide several opportunities for input, including an open forum with staff (Tuesday, May 1, from 3 to 4 p.m. in Constitution Hall, Rooms 2-3) and a meeting with the Faculty Senate on May 2, with additional campus stakeholder consultations in September. We will be sure to notify the campus as additional opportunities arise, and in the meantime, you are welcome to send your thoughts and input to

Second, we have identified our Search Committee, made up of stakeholders from across the community who represent department leadership, faculty, staff, and students.

  • Christine Chin,Interim Dean, School of International Service (Co-Chair)
  • Jeff Rutenbeck, Dean, School of Communication (Co-Chair)
  • Sharon Alston, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment
  • Fanta Aw, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
  • Sarah Irvine Belson, Associate Professor, School of Education; Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Education    
  • Wendy Boland, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing; Associate Dean for Programs & Learning, Kogod School of Business
  • Terry Davidson, Professor, Department of Psychology; Director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Angela J. Davis, Professor of Law
  • Maria De Jesus, Associate Professor, School of International Service; Associate Director of Teaching & Learning, The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning
  • Laura DeNardis, Professor, School of Communication
  • Marie Fritz, Professorial Lecturer; Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs, School of Professional & Extended Studies
  • Seth Grossman, Chief of Staff and Counselor to the President
  • Olivia Ivey, Assistant Librarian
  • Doug Kudravetz, Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Treasurer
  • Pamela Nadell, Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women's and Gender History; Director of the Jewish Studies Program
  • Andrea Pearson, Associate Professor of Art History; Faculty Senate Chair
  • E. Andrew Taylor, Associate Professor, Department of Performing Arts; Chair of the Department of Performing Arts
  • James Thurber, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Government; Founder and Former Director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies
  • Chris White, Student, JD/MBA program

Finally, we have enlisted the help of Spencer Stuart, one of the world's top executive search consulting firms. They have conducted presidential searches for Brown University, Colgate University, Cornell University, Northwestern University, Wesleyan University, and Yale University. They have also recently helped find the President for the New York Public Library, the President of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the Executive Director of TEDx. They were instrumental in our own presidential search here at American University, and I know they will provide valuable insight, guidance, and support through this process.

Identifying our next provost is an important step in charting the future we want to build at American University. I am so thankful for those who have volunteered to help in that search, and I look forward to working alongside everyone in the AU community as we make this important decision together.