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Provost Michael Aiken, one of five finalists for the presidency of the University of Texas at Austin, will learn today whether he has a new job. The University of Texas Board of Regents plans to name the university's next president this afternoon in Dallas, according to James Duncan, the UT system's executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and head of the search committee. Duncan said yesterday that the Board of Regents will interview Aiken and another finalist this morning in Dallas before making its final decision sometime during the early afternoon. Aiken, who has been the University's provost since 1987 and is a former dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, declined to comment yesterday. If he is offered the UT post, Aiken could become the second top University administrator to step down in recent months. Former Executive Vice President Marna Whittington, the University's chief financial officer, resigned in September to work for a private investment management firm. Even if the board passes Aiken over, there may still be a University connection to the UT helm. One of the other finalists, UT Law School Dean Mark Yudof, received degrees from the University in 1965 and in 1968. Monty Jones, director of news and public information for the UT system, said yesterday that no date has been set for the new president to start, adding that it would depend on how soon that person "could or would leave." But he predicted that the new president would take office either in January or in June, to avoid leaving a current position in the middle of a semester. Earlier this semester, Aiken visited Austin for an interview with the search committee and has since returned for a two-day campus visit to meet with UT administrators, faculty and students, Duncan said. Today's interview, which Duncan said should last about an hour and a half, marks the first chance for the full board to meet with Aiken. The board met with the other three candidates yesterday and Wednesday. The original pool of six finalists, announced late last month, narrowed this week when Henry Yang, dean of the School of Engineering at Purdue University, withdrew his name from consideration, Duncan said. The other finalists include Robert Berdahl, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Laurel Wilkening, provost at the University of Washington; and Luther Williams, assistant director for human resources at the National Science Foundation.

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