National search begins for new provost


Kevin Whitaker, the current provost of the University of Alabama, announced plans earlier this semester to retire in 2020. Photo courtesy of UA

Rebecca Griesbach | @rebach97, News Editor

The University of Alabama has launched a national search for a new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs to replace Kevin Whitaker, who plans to retire in 2020.

Whitaker announced these plans in early September, which makes him one of at least three top administrators to resign or announce plans to resign in the past six months.

“It has been an honor to serve this great institution for more than 30 years,” Whitaker said in a UA News release announcing his departure. “I’ve seen a lot of growth in that time as we raised the national profile of this university by investing in outstanding students and faculty, incredible facilities and impactful research, scholarship and creative activities.”

Whitaker was named to his current position in Dec. 16, 2016 and has served in this position since Jan. 1, 2017. He has served as interim provost since June 2015 after the retirement of Joe Benson. He also chaired the University’s Strategic Planning Council while interim provost.

The provost, who is the chief academic officer for the University, reports directly to the president and represents the president in his or her absence. According to a press release from UA News, a 15-person committee of faculty, staff and students will oversee the search with a goal of appointing a final candidate in late April.

“The committee… is seeking a person whose visionary, exemplary and innovative academic and administrative leadership is consistent with the standards of excellence in teaching, research and scholarship expected at a Carnegie-designated R1 institution,” the release stated.

Russell Mumper, UA vice president for research and economic development, will head up the search, and the search firm Academic Search Inc. will assist the committee in identifying candidates. This is the same firm that is currently conducting a search for the new vice president of student life.

In addition to Mumper, committee members include one undergraduate student, one graduate student, and faculty and administrators from various colleges. The 15-member committee is comprised of nine men and six women, and at least ten are white. Below are their names and titles:

  • Julie Vence, president of the Graduate Student Association
  • Demarcus Joiner, Student Government Association vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Angel Narvaez-Lugo, president of the Office, Clerical & Technical Staff Assembly
  • Robert Baxter, president of the Professional Staff Assembly and director of analytics
  • Suzanne Prevost, dean of the Capstone College of Nursing
  • Rich Houston, director of the Culverhouse School of Accountancy
  • Rona Donahoe, Faculty Senate president and professor in the department of geological sciences
  • Bryan Fair, professor in the UA School of Law
  • Lizzie Hibberd, assistant professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences
  • Tim A. Haskew, department head and professor of electrical and computer engineering
  • Darrin Griffin, assistant professor in the College of Communication and Information Sciences
  • Lisa Dorr, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • André Denham, associate professor in the College of Education and president of the Black Faculty and Staff Association
  • Lisa Rhiney, associate provost for financial and business affairs.

A website at features details of the position description, a timeline for the search, how to apply or nominate a candidate and additional information about the search process.