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Candidates announced for provost, VP of Academic Affairs

By Camryn Longworth, For The Miami Student

Day and night, a special committee of higher-ups have been working to nail down a decision that could change the university's approach toward education. The task: selecting the next provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

The provost holds a wide range of duties, serving as chief academic officer to President David Hodge and assuming direct responsibility for the university's six academic divisions. It is a critical role, and therefore, a decision that is not taken lightly.

Today, that decision is finally coming to a head. The committee announced Phyllis Callahan, James Coleman and Neville Pinto as the final three candidates.

"Our Provost search committee has done a phenomenal job in identifying three incredibly well-qualified finalists for the position," Secretary to the Board of Trustees and Executive Assistant to the President Ted Pickerill said. "The next step in this process is to introduce the three finalists to the Miami community, allowing them to become better acquainted with Miami, and for the Miami community to learn more about each of the finalists."

Each finalist will visit for two days, meeting with a number of key constituents during their stay. This includes President Hodge, Interim Provost Raymond Gorman and members from the President's Executive Cabinet. In addition, each will partake in several open forums.

According to Pickerill, all visits are expected to wrap up by Thanksgiving and a final decision will be announced before the end of the fall semester.

The search for a new Provost began in July when former Provost Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw left his position to serve as President at St. John's University in New York. Since then, Interim Provost Gorman has assumed the role.

"Miami ranks as a national university due to the high caliber of faculty," Director of University News and Communication Claire Wagner said. "The Provost leads the charge to maintain and continually improve academic experience."

Further, the Provost heads a number of key initiatives to advance the university's commitment to undergraduate education. This includes the Miami 2020 Plan - a bold initiative that strives to "promote a vibrant learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary student and scholarly outcomes."

An official document released by the University lays out a long list of criteria for the new Provost to fulfill. It stresses factors like rank, tenure and prior administrative success.

In addition, candidates must show a commitment to diversity and strong understanding of eLearning. This reflects the University's hope of providing 10 percent of total credit hours through online and hybrid offerings by 2020.

The search committee is hard at work examining these factors and more as they take steps towards reaching a final consensus. The committee consists of top administrators led by dean of Creative Arts, Elizabeth Mullenix and is backed by the Office of the President.

In order to complete the search, the University has sought assistance by executive search firm R. William Funk and Associates.