Reflecting on the journey to choose Elon’s next provost

by Laura Smith
January 13, 2009


The search for a new provost is a timely, complex, and detailed process.

For Elon University, the search to name Dr. Steven House as Elon’s next provost took four months.

It began back in August when the president’s office announced the promotion of current provost Gerry Francis to the position of Executive Vice President.

From there, a search committee was set up with Tom Henricks, professor of sociology, and Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications, as co-chairs.

Aside from Henricks and Parsons, members of the search committee included seven professors, an associate dean and an interim dean. Gerald Whittington, vice president for business, finance and technology, also served on the committee, as well as Kate Hickey, dean and university librarian, and Breanna Detwiler, an Elon senior. Professors on the search committee came from departments ranging from biology to education to art.

In the beginning of September, the search committee hosted three faculty/staff forums in order to develop a better understanding of the expectations of the new provost.

Elon also hired the executive search agency Witt/Kieffer to advertise the position and check credentials.

In November, Elon narrowed the list down from 110 applicants to eight.

House met with a panel of student leaders on Nov. 4 as part of the interview process.

In the beginning of December, two candidates were chosen to visit campus to make public presentations to faculty and staff. These candidates were House and Elizabeth Paul, vice provost at The College of New Jersey.

Later that month, House was named the new provost and vice president for academic affairs for Elon University.

The provost’s duties include overseeing academic affairs, admissions and financial planning, student life, intercollegiate athletics, institutional research, sponsored programs and cultural affairs. The provost acts in the absence of the president and gives leadership for long-range planning.

The provost also serves as the assistant secretary and assistant treasurer of the Board of Trustees.


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