We all have our to-do lists, and incoming Provost Vincent Price is no different.
As the first interim provost in the University’s history chosen to permanently fill the position, Price already made his mark last Thursday when Penn President Amy Gutmann announced his selection — but he’s not taking any chances on missing a beat.
Gutmann said she anticipates a seamless transition for Price from serving as interim provost to becoming the University’s 29th provost.
Former Provost Ron Daniels, who left Penn this February to serve as president of Johns Hopkins University, expects the same. “If not for the articles in the DP, [the transition] might almost be unnoticeable,” he joked in a previous interview.
But Price has already begun gearing up for the official move on July 1, following ratification of his selection by the University Board of Trustees at their June meeting.
The first item on his to-do list? “Consult broadly.”
Before creating his own agenda, Price said he looks forward to talking with faculty, deans, the graduate and undergraduate student assemblies and the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education — among other organizations — to learn about some of their hopes and expectations for the upcoming academic years.
Price also has certain objectives he wants to pursue as provost, many of which are passed on from Daniels — like increasing Penn’s focus on undergraduate life.
Some of Price’s other goals are long-standing University-wide initiatives — such as advancing the Penn Compact through building interdisciplinary ties, strengthening financial aid and increasing engagement locally as well as internationally with foreign universities.
But Price has some unique plans for accomplishing those aims.
He listed supporting international internships and increasing undergraduate research as some of his highest priorities for the upcoming year.
Price also said he hopes to take advantage of new opportunities to bring arts and culture to campus as a way of connecting Penn to the city and region. He will also seek a replacement to fill his current role as associate provost for faculty affairs.
Price attributed his selection to his deep understanding of and experience at Penn.
The Communication professor came to Penn 11 years ago from the University of Michigan having earned a doctorate and a master’s degree from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Santa Clara University.
“He’s an eminent scholar and seasoned administrator, has done a spectacular job as interim provost, has a great understanding of student and faculty issues alike, has an excellent relationship with faculty and students on campus, truly loves Penn and is very ambitious for Penn,” said Gutmann.
A search committee chaired by Wharton Dean Thomas Robertson led the search process, which took five and a half months compared with the standard six-to-nine month period to appoint a high-level university administrator. Executive search firm Isaacson, Miller also helped conduct the search.
According to Gutmann, the committee sought “somebody who has it all” — an eminent scholar, a collaborative leader and a great partner — for the position. In an international search, about 180 candidates were considered and 12 were interviewed before Price was selected.
Daniels said he considered Price’s record as the first interim provost to assume the position “not at all surprising,” citing Price’s highly judicious character and academic standards as well as his energy.
Price will begin the provost position with the added advantage that he will “hit the ground running,” said Gutmann, as he has gained a close understanding of faculty and student issues from his current work.
Gutmann highlighted the University’s response to the recent meningitis and measles outbreaks on campus as an example of Price’s leadership.
She added that being interim provost did not give Price a leg up in the search process, which Gutmann called “truly open” and more extensive than any other search in the past due to the high number of strong candidates.
As chief academic officer, the provost is responsible for coordinating all facets of Penn related to academic programs, research and student life and oversees the University’s 12 schools and deans.
And in response to concerns that Daniels’ perceived strong affinity with the undergraduate body would depart with him, Gutmann said that Price, whose daughter Sarah is a rising sophomore in the College, will work to maintain close relationships with students.
“One of the things I’m looking forward to the most is working with all constituents instead of focusing only on faculty affairs,” said Price.Comments powered by Disqus
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