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Search for Rochester’s next provost gets under way

April 1, 2021
Sarah Peyre and Stephen DewhurstSarah Peyre (left), dean of the Warner School, will serve as interim provost and Stephen Dewhurst, vice dean for research at the Medical Center, will serve as interim vice president for research. Both appointments begin July 1, as part of a leadership plan announced by University President Sarah Mangelsdorf.

President Mangelsdorf appoints interim provost and interim vice president for research along with introducing a new leadership structure.

University of Rochester President Sarah Mangelsdorf has announced that she plans to make separate appointments for Rochester’s next provost and next vice president for research.

Separating the two cabinet-level positions marks a return to a previous organizational structure, Mangelsdorf noted, but the move represents the importance of having designated leadership to focus on each of the key areas of academic affairs and the research enterprise.

In a message to members of the University community, she also announced several important updates:

  • Sarah Peyre, currently dean of the Warner School of Education, will serve for six months as interim provost
  • Stephen Dewhurst, currently vice dean for research at the School of Medicine and Dentistry and associate vice president for health sciences research for the University, will serve a one-year appointment as interim vice president for research
  • a University-wide committee, chaired by Mark Taubman, CEO of the Medical Center and UR Medicine, has been named to identify candidates for the next provost
  • the organizational responsibilities for both roles have been reorganized.

Peyre and Dewhurst begin their new roles on July 1, when Rob Clark, currently the provost and senior vice president for research, steps down from the roles to return to the faculty in the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

“I know that Sarah and Steve are excited about their new roles,” Mangelsdorf said. “As former colleagues at the Medical Center, they already have an excellent working relationship that will allow them to hit the ground running on July 1. I know they will bring fresh and innovative perspectives to our leadership team.

“At the same time, I would like to once again offer my thanks and appreciation to Rob Clark for his service. The University owes Rob a debt of gratitude that cannot easily be repaid.”

Mangelsdorf said she hopes to have a new provost in place by January 1, 2022. Once that person is in office, Mangelsdorf and the new provost will work together on a national search for a vice president for research, a position that will report to the president.

As the search for a provost gets under way, Mangelsdorf emphasized that the search committee will consult widely with the University community and encouraged community members to suggest or nominate potential candidates. In the coming weeks, a website with details about the search will be posted, including contact information for nominating candidates.

In addition to Taubman as the chair, committee members include:

  • Danielle Benoit, professor of biomedical engineering
  • Jim Brickley, the Gleason Professor of Business Administration
  • Will Bridges, associate professor of Japanese
  • Elizabeth P. Bruno, University trustee, chair of the Student Life Committee, and president of the Brady Education Foundation
  • Margaret-Ann Carno, professor of clinical nursing
  • Gilbert (Rip) Collins, the Tracy Hyde Harris Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Jane Gatewood, vice provost for Global Engagement
  • Narayana Kocherlakota, the Lionel W. McKenzie Professor of Economics
  • Katrina Smith Korfmacher, professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine
  • Joanne Larson, the Michael W. Scandling Professor of Education and the associate director of research at the Center for Urban Education Success
  • Addisu Mesfin, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery
  • Joe Testani, associate vice provost for Career Education Initiatives and assistant dean and executive director of the Gwen M. Greene Center for Career Education and Connections
  • James VanDemark, professor of double bass and cochair of the Department of Strings, Harp, and Guitar

Tony Green, chief of staff to the president and secretary to the Board of Trustees, and Gigi DeMita-Benway, executive assistant to the provost, will serve as staff to the committee, which will work closely with the external search firm Isaacson Miller. Peter Lange, provost emeritus of Duke, is leading the Isaacson Miller team on the search.

While in their interim roles, Peyre and Dewhurst have each been charged with establishing University-wide committees to explore institutional strategy connected to their areas. Peyre will lead a committee on educational innovation, Dewhurst on research strategy.

Each will also step away from some of their current duties while serving in the interim roles. At Warner, Doug Guiffrida, professor and associate dean for graduate studies, will be interim dean. Dewhurst will step down as chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

As part of reconfiguration of the two cabinet positions, the Board of Trustees also approved a new organizational structure that outlines the operational responsibilities for the provost and the vice president for research. Details can be found here.

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