University News

UCS discusses qualities for new provost

UCS members hope Provost Mark Schlissel’s P’15 successor prioritizes undergrad experience

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, February 20, 2014

Provost search committee members Wendy Edwards, professor of visual arts, and Daniel Pipkin '14 heard UCS members' feedback at the forum.

Undergraduate Council of Students members described qualities they hope to see in the new provost, including attentiveness to undergraduate issues and a familiarity with Brown’s unique culture, at Wednesday’s open forum, which featured two members of the provost search committee.

Wendy Edwards, professor of visual arts, and Daniel Pipkin ’14, the undergraduate appointment, represented the committee at the forum.

Edwards opened the forum by describing how the committee’s current goal is gathering feedback from community members to inform its decision making. “Our process right now is going out into the community and taking information back to the committee,” she said.

Several UCS members expressed a desire for the new provost to prioritize undergraduate issues, such as expanding financial aid and research funding.

Sam Rubinstein ’17, a UCS general body member, said he wants “to be confident that when Brown makes an offer to a student anywhere in the world, (it does not) lose that student due to their inability to pay.” He also wants the provost to focus on increasing funding for research, which would benefit both undergraduates and faculty members, he added.

Justice Gaines ’16, who plans on joining the Council, said he seeks a provost “focused on the undergraduates” who sees “how everything ties back to the undergraduate.”

Many Council members also said they would appreciate a provost who engaged with the student body in a direct manner.

Kiera Peltz ’16, chair of the UCS Communications Committee, said she hoped the new provost would be a “major presence on campus and a big personality” who would facilitate a greater connection between the student body and the administration.

“The provost should be enthusiastic about being involved … (and) should want to hear what we have to say and be involved in what we’re doing,” said Heather Sabel ’17, a UCS general body member.

Some also stressed that the new provost should be mindful of the University’s unique culture as a university-college.

Kevin Carty ’15, a UCS general body member, said he wants the new provost to support the ideas former president Henry Wriston outlined in his essay “The University College,” such as the importance of a broad liberal arts undergraduate education.

Carty called the trend of placing emphasis on pre-professional or graduate schools “antithetical to the university-college.”

Several Council members also stressed the importance of selecting a provost who appreciates Brown’s culture of openness.

Elena Saltzman ’16, a UCS general body member, said she would like the provost to have “an appreciation of our culture of inclusivity and acceptance” and prove to be “enthusiastic about cultivating that culture during their tenure at Brown.”

Alex Drechsler ’15, chair of the UCS Student Activities committee and a former Herald opinions columnist, said he hopes to see “a provost who has a very Brown flavor about him.”

In response to a community member’s request for committee members to ask applicants why they want to come to Brown specifically, Edwards said “Those questions will be addressed.”

The provost committee representatives declined to comment in response to specific questions about the search process, including queries about names of applicants.

President Christina Paxson “has asked that we hold back on some of the information that we share from the committee at this time,” Pipkin said.

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