Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost Search

Following the announcement on Nov. 7, 2017, by Chanceller Patrick Gallagher that Patricia Beeson will step down as Senior Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of Pittsburgh, the University is conducting a search for a new provost. All interested parties are invited to review the information below.

The Provost

Working with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, senior leadership, the Deans, the Chairs and Directors, and the faculty, students and staff, the Provost will help to shape and articulate the University’s academic and scholarly mission. S/he will work closely with the Chancellor and Senior Vice Chancellor/Chief Financial Officer to implement a budget and managerial model that will allow the Provost to allocate resources within the academic units in ways that enhance academic and scholarly excellence, while maintaining a strong operational infrastructure.

The Provost is responsible for the administration of all programs of instruction, mentoring and student life, and for promoting goals of academic excellence for the University’s faculty and students. In order to be effective, the Provost must understand each school intimately, embracing its unique vision and facilitating its development, while also facilitating cross-school collaboration and translating and incorporating school goals into the total University vision.

Under the current organizational structure, those reporting to and working with the Provost on the above initiatives include: Executive Vice Provost; Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, Development and Diversity; Vice Provost and Dean of Students; Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies; Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Strategic Initiatives; Vice Provost for Global Affairs; Vice Provost for Enrollment; Vice Provost for Data and Information; Vice Provost for Special Projects; and Assistant Provost for Strategic Communications.

The presidents of the regional campuses also report directly to the Provost, as do the directors of the University Library System, University Center for Social and Urban Research, Center for Philosophy of Science, and Learning Research and Development Center. In addition, the deans of the 10 schools and colleges outside the health sciences report directly to the Provost. While the other six schools formally report to the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, the Provost maintains very close connections with their deans.

Key Responsibilities

Academic planning: The Provost approves and generates plans for academic programs, resource allocation, and innovations in all programs – on Pitt’s main campus as well as its four regional campuses – to serve the needs of undergraduate and graduate and professional students and to increase academic excellence of departments and all programs relative to peer institutions as measured by national rankings. S/he also facilitates, promotes and supports the creation of interdisciplinary programs, inter-divisional collaborations, and cross-college academic initiatives. S/he receives timely reports from the deans and other officers who have delegated responsibilities for planning and development. This function includes oversight of programmatic planning for academic buildings, with a key role in all space allocation decisions, working with others to ensure that academic priorities are balanced with cost containment strategies and efficient practices to maximize University resources.

Chief Personnel Officer for Academic Faculty: The Provost oversees the allocation of all faculty positions except those that are endowed or school-funded and restricted by external requirements to a single department or area. S/he oversees faculty hiring and establishes and monitors a plan for the recruitment of women, minority and international faculty and graduate students. The Provost maintains current personnel policies and oversees systems of quality assurance for hiring, promotion and tenure of faculty members. S/he oversees the process by which faculty members and their departments or schools prepare for tenure and promotion reviews and chairs the final review committee. S/he annually reviews for procedural adequacy and equity in all promotion and tenure actions, including those that are not recommended by the dean and are appealed by the candidate. The Provost is the guardian of University standards for faculty conduct, including ethics in instruction and research, and compliance with relevant laws, and requires that the deans do so as well. S/he consults with the Faculty Senate and relevant employee councils about matters of concern to faculty and staff members.

Student Success: The Provost ensures the effective and efficient use of resources in support of advising, career services and other academic student support services to ensure student success, as measured by increase in retention and graduation rates, number of experiential learning experiences including research and internship opportunities, as well as student outcomes including job placement and increasing median starting salaries. Included are student life initiatives, as well as providing health and wellness support for students along with residential and dining needs. Improving the pipeline of Pitt students, especially from underrepresented populations and first-generation college students, and ensuring their success as Pitt students are also priorities.

Enrollment Planning: The Provost oversees the enrollment planning function, in cooperation with the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, to ensure that enrollment targets are achieved, including expansion of out-of-state and international students and increase of quality and diversity of students, with efficient utilization of financial resources, including scholarships.

Global Academic Activities: The Provost oversees foreign study, promotion of international study for University students, international partnerships, and appropriate support for students and employees while abroad on University-approved study or University business, including teaching and research. The University of Pittsburgh has cooperation agreements in more than 70 countries and works with partners around the globe to provide solutions to real-world challenges in the health sciences, sustainable energy, and economic development, and the Provost plays a leadership role in this area.

External Relations and Fundraising: Although not as external facing as the Chancellor, the Provost will indeed represent the University to external stakeholders including alumni, donors and members of the Pittsburgh community, as well as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pitt’s academic mission should never be viewed as serving only the University; rather, the Provost should seek ways in which this mission can have a positive impact on the community – the urban community in which the main campus sits, the more rural communities of which the regional campuses are a part, and Western Pennsylvania more generally. The Provost will play an important role in fundraising, both in terms of meeting with prospective donors himself/herself, as well as crafting the various cases that will support others who meet with donors.

Acting in Place of the Chancellor: The Provost is second in rank to the Chancellor, and presides over meetings, attends events as the University’s representative, and acts in place of the Chancellor, as necessary. Moreover, the Provost wields considerable influence over the whole of the institutional mission, deeply influencing the priorities of the Vice Chancellors and Vice Provosts charged with various facets of university administration.

Key Priorities (not in rank order):

  • Provide vision and leadership to enhance the academic quality of the University and its faculty and students and to advance Pitt’s national and international reputation and ranking;
  • Oversee the development of a strategic enrollment plan that will pave the way for the coming decade;
  • Lead and support innovative programs to imbed diversity and inclusion in the programs and culture of the University and enhance the cultural and ethnic diversity of the faculty, staff and students;
  • Create infrastructure to further interdisciplinary collaborations across schools and colleges – both those within the Provost’s area as well as those within the health sciences.
  • Continue to enhance the University’s global presence, recognition and impact;
  • Serve as key communicator of academic priorities and initiatives to University faculty, students, staff, Trustees, alumni and donors;
  • Assess and foster the appropriate use of technology in the delivery of a 21st century education; and
  • Build and manage strong, collaborative relationships with faculty, students, senior leadership, Trustees, staff, alumni and donors, and state and local community officials.


Consistent with the responsibilities and priorities described above, the University of Pittsburgh seeks to appoint an individual who brings strong academic leadership to an institution deeply committed to the idea of a strong, cohesive university. The next Provost will have a distinguished record of scholarship in her/his own academic discipline, suitable for a tenured appointment as full professor. S/he will have immense intellectual breadth, be flexible and nimble in working across disciplines, and be able to move beyond her/his own field to champion disciplines across every school and college. S/he will be a collaborative leader, with a demonstrated track record of leading successfully through persuasion and the power of her/his ideas to achieve common goals among diverse stakeholders. The University seeks an academic leader who respects academic rigor and excellence as extremely high priorities.

Pitt’s next Provost will be a courageous leader with bold vision. S/he must have a thorough understanding of U.S. higher education, its international context, and its role in economic development, and must be passionate about the educational mission of the University. S/he should be an experienced leader, able to inspire others and build trust, with exceptional listening skills and a genuine desire to be part of the Pitt community. S/he should have a strong commitment to shared governance, and welcome the input of Pitt’s various constituent communities, while being able to make timely and effective decisions.

Other qualities of the next Provost include:

  • Commitment to enhancing the quality of student learning and personal/professional development at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels;
  • Entrepreneurial mindset, able to build programs and unafraid to take calculated risks;
  • Appreciation for the need for the University to promote and engage in disciplinary and multi-disciplinary teaching and research;
  • Record of success in implementing programs to increase diversity and inclusion among faculty, staff and students;
  • Commitment to academic freedom, tenure, shared governance, and other traditional academic values;
  • Vision, tact and judgment to set priorities, ability to make difficult decisions and allocate limited resources, and courage of conviction;
  • Exceptional relationship-building and communication skills, characterized by honesty, transparency, and the genuine desire to listen to others; and
  • Impeccable personal and professional integrity.

Provost Organizational Charts:


Search Committee:

Chair: Rob Rutenbar, PhD
Senior Vice Chancellor for Research
Professor of Computer Science and
Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Pittsburgh
Committee Secretary: N. John Cooper, DPhil
Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research
Professor of Chemistry
University of Pittsburgh

Members from the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

Shelome Gooden, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Linguistics
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
Michael Goodhart, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science;
Director of the Global Studies Center
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh

Members from the Provost’s Professional Schools

Susan Fullerton, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Swanson School of Engineering
University of Pittsburgh
Cynthia Tananis, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Administrative and Policy Studies
Director, Collaborative for Evaluation and Assessment Capacity
School of Education
University of Pittsburgh

Members from the Health Sciences

Maria Kovacs, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

Members from the Regional Campuses

Christopher Cook, PhD
Associate Professor of Political Science
Director of International Studies
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Members from the Student Government Boards

Janet Asbury
Member, Peer Mentoring Program
College of General Studies Student Government Board
Clarissa Leon
Vice President of Programming
Graduate and Professional Student Government
Krishani Patel
Vice President and Chief of Cabinet,
Undergraduate Student Government Board

Members from the Staff Council

Fiona Seels, MS
System Administrator
School of Education
University of Pittsburgh

Members from the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees

Douglas Browning, JD
Attorney and Senior Vice President,
Senior Vice President, Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services, Inc
Mary Ellen Callahan, JD
Assistant General Counsel - Privacy
The Walt Disney Company

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher’s Nominations

Ariel Armony, PhD
Vice Provost for Global Affairs
Director, University Center for International Studies
Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
University of Pittsburgh
Arjang Assad, PhD
Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
Ivet Bahar, PhD
Distinguished Professor and John K. Vries Chair
Department of Computational and Systems Biology
School of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
Kathleen Blee, PhD
Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Pittsburgh
Kenyon Bonner, PhD
Vice Provost and Dean of Students
University of Pittsburgh
Tao Han, PhD
Distinguished Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy\
Director for the Pittsburgh Particle Physics, Astrophysics, and
Cosmology Center
University of Pittsburgh
Graham Hatfull, PhD
Professor of Biological Sciences and the
Eberly Family Professor of Biotechnology
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
Anthony Infanti, JD
Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney Faculty Scholar
Professor of Law
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Jeanne Marie Laskas, PhD
Professor of English
Founding Director, Center for Creativity
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
University of Pittsburgh
Sanjeev Shroff, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering
Chair, Department of Bioengineering
Swanson School of Engineering
University of Pittsburgh
Sharon Smith, PhD
President, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg