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Faculty Consulted on Next Provost

By Sarah Y. Keightley
News Editor

In a letter written to faculty and administrators on Wednesday, President Charles M. Vest discussed the selection process for the new provost.

On Monday, it was announced that Provost Mark S. Wrighton will be leaving MIT to be the next chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) Wrighton's appointment takes effect on July 1.

Vest said he intends to "consult broadly in person and by mail with the goal of identifying and recruiting the new provost before June 10."

"Certainly there's a tremendous interest in doing this quickly on the part of the president," said Chair of the Faculty Robert L. Jaffe. "Everything has to move on a pretty rapid pace to make this happen."

In the letter, Vest wrote that "barring unexpected developments or opportunities," he plans to appoint Wrighton's successor "from within the ranks of the MIT faculty."

Jaffe is helping Vest with the search process. His role so far has been helping to identify individuals for Vest to consult with. Though Jaffe was out of town for most of this week, he has been communicating regularly with Vest via electronic mail, he said.

"I have given [Vest] a couple of lists of individuals on the faculty who I think it is important for him to consult with in determining the nature of the appointment and possibly to discuss candidates," Jaffe said.

In Wednesday's letter, Vest encouraged faculty and administrators to communicate with him via letter and electronic mail to make recommendations for the new provost and to bring up any issues they would like him to consider when selecting the new provost. Vest will accept these correspondences until next Friday.

Vest said that he has already received a "large number" of recommendations for the new provost, and "none have been self-nominations." He also said that the "advice has been rather general and focused on the importance of core academic values, commitment to excellence, and the ability to develop sound financial plans."

"I am grateful for the advice that has been sent, look forward to the thoughts of others, and will do my best to identify another outstanding provost," Vest said.

Wrighton has been overseeing several search committees, including those for the undergraduate and graduate education deans, the associate provost for the arts, and the director of libraries. "I think it's really important that the new provost have at least a consulting role in deciding on" successors for these positions, Jaffe said.