February 10, 2011
Dear Members of the University Community:
As you know, Nariman Farvardin will be stepping down as provost at the
end of this month to assume, in July, the presidency of Stevens
Institute of Technology. One of his important legacies is a strategic
plan for transformative excellence of the University. He developed it
under the leadership of President Mote and with the engagement of many
faculty, staff, and administrators. Informed by this plan, I am
committed to leading the University of Maryland in its continuing
ascendancy into the top ranks of the nation's premier universities.
I have consulted extensively with deans, the Senate Executive Committee,
student leaders, the Division of Academic Affairs staff, and numerous
stakeholders on campus and in the broader community about the provost
search process. Some recommended that we begin immediately a national
search and have a permanent appointment by fall 2011. Others
recommended that we defer the national search and have a permanent
appointment by summer 2012.
The choice must take into account our circumstances. We are in the
midst of national searches for two collegiate deans (Arts and
Humanities, and Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences), two vice
presidents (Research and Information Technology), and the associate
provost for International Programs. We are about to start the national
search for the Chief Diversity Officer. Some candidates have expressed
understandable concern about accepting a position without knowing to
whom they would report.
Therefore, I have decided to appoint an internal provost for a fixed
term and then start a national search this fall, with the aim of having
a permanent provost in place by July 2012. Candidates in the on-going
searches will know that they would work with the same provost for a year
and that they will have a voice in the search for the permanent provost.
The University must have leadership stability to continue on its upward
trajectory in today's uncertain economic times. Depending on one's
administrative experience, the learning curve for any new provost may
take about a year. I have concluded that the University at this time
will be best served by a provost who can hit the ground running.
Together, the provost and I will recruit for these senior positions. We
will work with the campus community to advance transformative
excellence. Building on the University's successes, my priorities are
(1) research, innovation and entrepreneurship, (2) academic excellence
and student achievement, (3) internationalization, and (4) a 21st
century metropolitan vision of the land-grant mission. This plan for
provost succession will facilitate the recruitment of outstanding
candidates, internal and external.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ann G. Wylie as Senior Vice
President and Provost from March 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012. She has a
deep understanding of the University and an unequaled breadth of
expertise that spans the academic mission, research, financial
management, human resources, facilities, administrative operations, and
relations with the University System of Maryland. At the end of this
appointment, she plans to return to the faculty.
Ann is Professor of Geology (PhD, Columbia; BA, Wellesley). She served
in various departmental leadership positions and was selected as one of
the University's Distinguished Scholar-Teachers. The students' reports
of her teaching and mentorship are glowing. She was an acting associate
dean of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences and associate
provost. For six years, she was Assistant President and Chief of Staff
for President Mote. During this period, she also assumed for two years
the position of Interim Dean of the Graduate School, making hard
decisions that restored that unit to fiscal health. She initiated a new
leave-of-absence policy for childbirth and family illness for graduate
students. To every position she has brought keen analysis, prodigious
energy, and determination.
Currently as Vice President for Administrative Affairs, she has fostered
a spirit of community and excellence in this division, gaining the
respect and appreciation of her staff. She leads the East Campus
development project, works on the development of our Research Park
(M-Square) and, most recently, secured significant capital funding to
address our "invisible crisis" -- the need for extensive facilities
renewal, essential to realizing the University's educational and
Ann has spearheaded the campus efforts on the Purple Line. Her
expertise enables me to advocate for whichever Purple Line alignment
will maximize our state's chances to get federal funding in the
nationwide competition and to safeguard our campus' interests in safety,
aesthetics and mitigation of impacts. This $1.6 billion transit project
is critical to the vitality of our University and our region for the
next 100 years.
We are now in a period of constrained public resources. Federal and
state budget deficits are large and structural. In this fiscal
environment, Ann has worked on modeling the University's finances to
support our academic and research missions. Her leadership over the
next year will help solidify and advance the University's progress.
After the necessary consultations, I will appoint an Interim Vice
President for Administrative Affairs, and then launch a national search
for the permanent appointment. I will work closely with Ann's
successor(s) on such town/gown issues as safety, housing, schools, and
transportation. The future of the University is intertwined with the
future of the surrounding community.
As I assemble the new leadership team, I want to underscore the values
that I believe are essential to an academic democracy. My expectation
is that these values will characterize the leadership style of all
senior administrators of the University: consultation, collaboration,
and transparency in the tradition of shared governance.
I want to thank Nariman for his leadership and welcome Ann to her new
leadership role. And I want to thank each of you for all your
contributions that have made the University of Maryland such a
pre-eminent flagship and land-grant institution.
Wallace D. Loh