The University of Arizona has named three finalists for the position of senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Each of the finalists is a distinguished scholar, researcher, educator and administrator with proven success in the areas of leadership and the enhancement of academic programs.

The finalists are:

  • Andrew C. Comrie, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, University of Arizona
  • Henry C. Foley, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Jack H. Knott, dean of the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California

As an introduction to the members of the campus and Tucson communities, each of the finalists is scheduled to participate in an on-campus public forum.

  • Andrew Comrie: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 9:30-11 a.m.
  • Henry Foley: Monday, Jan. 14, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Jack Knott: Thursday, Jan. 17, 9:30-11 a.m.

Each forum will take place in the Rincon Room at the Student Union Memorial Center and will be open to the public.

Comrie has been serving in the position until a permanent provost is named. Previously, Jacqueline Lee Mok served as UA provost before departing for a position at Johns Hopkins University.

In September, speaking about the search for the new provost, UA President Ann Weaver Hart said the search was one of the most important and most critical under way at the UA.

“I view the provost of a great research university as the chief academic officer and chief advocate for the primary resource of the university, and that's its faculty," Hart said during a fall meeting of the UA Faculty Senate. “I'm looking for a chief academic officer who takes that charge very seriously.”

Hart also has said the new provost must be attentive to the University’s place – it is a land-grant institution with both local and global perspective and impact; applying UA-derived research in ways beneficial to the state and region has been and remains a high priority.

Reporting directly to Hart, the provost will be expected to aid in defining the institution’s broader vision while managing the UA’s daily operations.

Likewise, the provost is Hart’s liaison to the Faculty Senate and is responsible for designing and implementing the UA’s ongoing strategic academic planning and resource alignment efforts, including initiatives around instruction, research and outreach.

Other priorities include: collaborating with administrators in the health sciences to advance programs in Tucson and Phoenix; working to strengthen University and alumni relations; the recruitment of a diverse faculty; allocating resources to University deans and working to strengthen academic policies; and collaborating with the Student Affairs division to establish to ensure student success and support.

Additionally, those who report to the provost include administrators out of academic and faculty affairs, human resources and student affairs as well as the UA’s 16 academic deans.

The UA generates more than $600 million in federal funding, ranking 18th in research and development expenditures among public universities and colleges. Also, National Science Foundation data places the UA 24th among all public and private universities in the U.S.

Also, the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list ranks the UA Medical Center-University Campus 33rd among about 5,000 U.S. hospitals for geriatrics with high-performing programs in cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gynecology and neurology.

The UA ranks in 50th place among the top 100 public and private institutions in the world, according to a 2012 report by the Center for World University Rankings.

In addition to health-related programs, the UA has been recognized for exemplary programs and initiatives in astronomy, the arts and humanities, the social sciences, business management and engineering, among numerous other disciplines.

For example, some of the programs ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report in 2012 included entrepreneurship, geology, speech, language and hearing sciences, management infor mation systems, analytical chemistry, rehabilitation counseling and Earth and environmental sciences.

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