Provost (education) | Wikipedia audio article


A provost is the senior academic administrator
at many institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada, the equivalent
of a pro-vice-chancellor at some institutions in the United Kingdom and Ireland, or a Deputy
Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at most Australian universities. Additionally, the heads of certain colleges
in the UK and Ireland are called provosts; it is, in this sense, the equivalent of a
master (or various other titles for the head of the college) at other colleges.==Duties, role, titles, and selection==
The specific duties and areas of responsibility for a provost vary from one institution to
another, but usually include supervision and oversight of curricular, instructional, and
research affairs. The various deans of a university’s various
schools, colleges, or faculties generally report to the provost or jointly to the chief
executive officer (variously called president, chancellor, or rector) and the provost, as
do the heads of various interdisciplinary units and academic support functions, such
as libraries, student services, the registrar, admissions, and information technology. The provost, in turn, is responsible to the
institution’s chief executive officer and governing board or boards (variously called
the board of trustees, the board of regents, the board of governors, or the corporation)
for oversight of all educational affairs and activities, including research and academic
personnel. In many but not all North American institutions,
the provost or equivalent is the second-ranking officer in the administrative hierarchy. Often the provost may serve as acting chief
executive officer during a vacancy in that office or when the incumbent is absent from
campus for prolonged periods. In these institutions, the title of provost
is sometimes combined with those of senior vice president, executive vice president,
executive vice chancellor, or the like, to denote that officer’s high standing.Provosts
are often chosen by a search committee made up of faculty members, and are almost always
drawn from the ‘tenured faculty’ or ‘professional administrators’ with academic credentials,
either at the institution or from other institutions. At some North American research universities
and liberal arts colleges, other titles may be used in place of or in combination with
provost, such as chief academic officer (CAO) or vice president for academic affairs (or
rarely, academic vice president, academic vice rector, or vice president for education). At smaller independent liberal arts colleges,
the chief academic officer may carry the title “dean of the college” or “dean of the faculty”
in addition to or instead of provost. For example, at Trinity College in Hartford,
Connecticut, the Dean of the Faculty is also the Vice President for Academic Affairs and
is the second-highest administrator, directly beneath the President. Provosts often receive staff support or delegate
line responsibility for certain administrative functions to one or more subordinates variously
called assistant provost, associate provost, vice provost, or deputy provost. The deputy provost is often the right hand
person of the provost who assumes the provost’s responsibilities in the provost’s absence.==Other titles and uses==
State university systems in the United States are the state universities operated and funded
primarily by the state government. (They may include multiple administratively
independent campuses, or an integrated multi-campus state university). In some state university systems, provost
may be the title held by the head of branch campus. For example, until recently the chancellors
of the Newark and Camden campuses of Rutgers University in New Jersey were known as provosts. Sometimes the chief academic officer or chief
medical officer of a university medical center (also academic medical center) holds the title
of provost. In some universities, the chief administrative
officer of a large academic division may hold a provostial title. Finally, in some colleges and universities,
the title of provost (and the function of deputy to the president or chancellor) may
be separate from the function of chief academic officer. Provost is the style of the heads of University
College London; the Royal College of Art; Oriel, Queen’s and Worcester Colleges at Oxford;
King’s College at Cambridge; Trinity College at Dublin; and St Leonard’s College (University
of St Andrews), as well as the deputy head of Imperial College London. The chairman of the governors of Eton College
is also called a provost. There are also Provosts for the University
of Reading Malaysia Campus.==History==
The title “provost” (Latin: praepositus) was used in England in medieval times for the
head of colleges such as Oriel College, Oxford and Eton College. In the context of local government, the title
is even older; see Provost (civil) The first use of the title in American and
Canadian higher education is unclear. At the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia
University, the title dates from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, respectively. At the University of Pennsylvania, the administrative
head of the university was titled provost until the 1930s, when the Board of Trustees
created a separate office of president and re-designated the provost as chief academic
officer and subordinate to the new presidency. At Columbia University, the Board of Trustees
established the office of provost in 1811, only to abolish it five years later. The Trustees and the president of the university
re-established the office of provost in 1912. Although the precise title of the office has
changed over time, the responsibility as Columbia’s chief academic officer has remained constant. Other North American universities and colleges
created provostships during and after World War II when dramatic increases in undergraduate
enrollments (due to the G.I. Bill) and the increased complexity of higher
education administration, led many chief executive officers to adopt a more corporate governing
structure. By the 1960s, most of the other Ivy League
institutions (Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, and Brown) had provosts (or equivalents),
as did other private research universities such as the University of Chicago, Stanford
University, Rice University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University,
Emory University, Wake Forest University and Duke University. At Harvard University, the office of provost
has had two distinct incarnations. The office’s first incarnation was during
World War II and the immediate postwar era. James Bryant Conant, the president of the
university from 1933 to 1953, asked the Harvard Corporation (the more senior of the two governing
boards) to create the office of provost in October 1945, at time when he (Conant) spent
a great deal of time in Washington, D.C. as chairman of the National Defense Research
Committee. Conant appointed historian Paul Herman Buck,
the dean of the Faculty of Arts of Sciences (FAS), to concurrently serve as provost. (The original legislation required that the
provost be concurrently dean of FAS.) As provost and dean, Buck had oversight of
FAS (which includes Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Extension
School, the Summer School, and what is now called the School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences) and its affiliated laboratories, research centres, and museums. However, he had no authority over Harvard’s
professional schools (at that time, the Divinity School, the Law School, the Faculty of Medicine,
the School of Public Health, and the Graduate Schools of Business Administration, Design,
Education, and Public Administration). The provost’s office was eliminated when Conant
retired from Harvard’s presidency in 1953. During the presidencies of Nathan Marsh Pusey
(1953–1971) and Derek C. Bok (1971–1993), the deans of Harvard’s nine faculties reported
directly to the president, with the dean of FAS being primus inter pares. The second incarnation began in 1993, when
then-Harvard President Neil Rudenstine asked the Corporation to recreate the provostship
as a second university-wide academic officer other than the president. A section of Harvard’s 1997 Re-accreditation
Report for the New England Commission of Colleges and Schools reads: The Provost at Harvard acts as an extension
of the President. He is the second academic officer, after the
President, having purview of the entire University. The Provost has special responsibility for
fostering intellectual interactions across the University, including the five Interfaculty
Initiatives (environment, ethics and the professions, schooling and children, mind/brain/behavior,
and health policy). The Provost also acts to help improve the
quality and efficiency of central services organized at Harvard under the aegis of the
Vice Presidents.==See also==
Director (education) Postgraduate education
Principal (university) Professor
Undergraduate education

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