Position Description

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The University of Michigan seeks nominations and invites applications for the position of Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (EVPAA) is the chief academic officer and chief budget officer for the University’s Ann Arbor campus, and is responsible for leadership of the educational, scholarly, and research missions of the institution and for fostering academic excellence and integrity.

The Provost and EVPAA (hereafter referred to as Provost) reports to the University President and works closely with the President and Board of Regents in a role of broad leadership and oversight. The Provost reviews recommendations for faculty appointment, promotion and tenure across the University and is responsible for a number of functions intended to foster the academic excellence of the institution. At Michigan, the Provost also serves as the chief budget officer for the University. In these roles, he or she works closely with the deans of the 19 schools and colleges as well as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who has general responsibility for the financial affairs of the University; and the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the UM Medical School, who serves as the chief executive officer for the academic medical center (Michigan Medicine) and affiliated entities.


About the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is one of the great public research universities in the nation and the world. Since the nineteenth century it has served as a national model of a complex, diverse, and comprehensive public institution of higher learning that supports excellence in research, provides outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, and demonstrates commitment to public service and engagement.

The University was chartered in 1817 by the Michigan territorial legislature and was initially located in Detroit. In 1837, after Michigan had been admitted to the Union, the State of Michigan renewed the charter and relocated the University to Ann Arbor, where classes were first held in 1841. Today, the main campus is located in Ann Arbor, 35 miles west of Detroit, with regional campuses located in the cities of Dearborn and Flint. The University is currently engaged in a year-long celebration of its bicentennial marked with special curricular offerings, major academic colloquia, and commemorative arts performances and festivals.

With about 120,000 inhabitants, Ann Arbor is situated on lush, rolling terrain along the banks of the Huron River. Worldly and sophisticated, yet friendly and accessible, it is a classic college town in the tradition of Cambridge and Berkeley. Intellectual, artistic, and recreational opportunities in the broader community abound for people of all ages. Ann Arbor perennially ranks in magazine polls as one of the best places to live and raise a family in the U.S.

Since 2014, the University has been led by President Mark S. Schlissel. Dr. Schlissel is also Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Professor of Internal Medicine in the Medical School and Professor of Cell and Development Biology in UM’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts. In his first two years at Michigan his major focus has been advancing academic excellence at UM through large scale multi-disciplinary efforts across the campus; advancing diversity, equity and inclusion; and promoting public engagement and service. Prior to becoming Michigan’s 14th president, Dr. Schlissel was provost at Brown University and Professor of Biochemistry and dean for the biological sciences at University of California-Berkeley.

Michigan’s position of excellence in higher education rests on the outstanding scholarly and creative contributions of its faculty and on the intellectual quality, vitality, and passion of its students — undergraduate, graduate, and professional. Its nineteen schools and colleges, as well as its centers and institutes and its libraries are nationally and internationally recognized. The University sustains top programs in the arts and humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, and in all of the major professional schools. It is the home of one of the largest academic medical centers in the world. The University is also recognized for its outstanding interdisciplinary institutes and centers, such as the Institute for Social Research, the Life Sciences Institute and the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation. Overall, there are approximately 2780 tenured and tenure-track faculty on the Ann Arbor campus, and an additional 3270 individuals in instructional and research faculty roles such as clinical instructional faculty, research faculty, lecturers and supplemental instructional staff.

Each year the Ann Arbor campus enrolls approximately 28,000 undergraduates, 8500 graduate students, and 6800 professional students. Its undergraduate students come from Michigan as well as from every state in the union and from more than a hundred countries. Today, the University has close to 600,000 living alumni around the globe.

The campus covers about 3,200 acres in and near Ann Arbor. Other holdings include about 18,000 additional acres in regional campuses, field stations, and other properties for research and teaching. In addition to classrooms, laboratories, and specialized research facilities, the University community makes use of a vast array of resources, including libraries, concert halls, art museums and galleries, an arboretum, botanical gardens, and athletic and recreational facilities. The University calendar offers a prodigious diversity of events and activities. Many thousands of conferences, symposia, speeches, workshops, concerts, performances, recitals, films, readings and athletic events take place each year. As well, around 1000 clubs and organizations provide innumerable opportunities for faculty, staff and students to take part in the University community.

As a public university, Michigan is dedicated to service in the larger world. Faculty research addresses a large range of critical issues—health care, robotics, the environment, social interventions, education reform and improvement, poverty solutions and many others. By extending fundamental understandings and advancing technological innovations, University scientists and engineers contribute to remarkable advances that are transforming life and contributing to building the economy of the state, region, and nation. University scholars in the humanities and the arts advance societal understanding around the most pressing and challenging problems facing the world today. Students take part in community-based service and learning projects. The University collaborates with other universities, colleges, and K-12 schools, as well as provides research and other services for a variety of state and private agencies.

The University of Michigan is a founding member of the Association of American Universities (AAU).


About the Position

The Provost will work with the President in promoting and pursuing the long-term academic excellence of the University, in collaboration with the Board of Regents, the deans, the chairs and directors, the executive officers, and the faculty, students, and staff. A key responsibility of the Provost is to promote excellence and diversity in undergraduate, graduate, and professional education and scholarship. She or he will appoint, oversee, and work with the deans of the colleges and directors of other academic units to maintain and enhance excellence and realize the academic aspirations of the individual schools and of the University as a whole. A candidate for the position must possess sound judgment and broad understanding of academic disciplines in all academic matters of the University, with particular attention to faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure.

The Provost is the chief budgetary officer for the campus. As such, she or he must also be capable of managing a multi-billion dollar budget, having demonstrated the ability to make difficult resource allocation decisions, prioritizing academic needs and aligning resources with that prioritization. The Provost must be interested in promoting interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to education and research, as well as fostering diversity, equity and inclusion amongst faculty, students, and staff at the University. She or he plays a vital role in developing and implementing a thoughtful vision for the future of the University and its relationship to other societal, governmental, and economic institutions, and to society at large.

Governance and Reporting Relationships

The University is governed by the Regents of the University, consisting of eight members elected at large in the biennial state elections, and the President of the University, who serves as an ex officio member. The Regents serve without compensation for overlapping terms of eight years. According to the Michigan Constitution of 1963, the Regents are responsible for “general supervision” of the institution and “the control and direction of all expenditures from the institution’s funds.” The Regents meet periodically in formal public sessions as well as in informal sessions.   The Provost attends all formal public sessions of the Regents and participates in most informal sessions. He/she works closely with the Regents throughout the year on a broad range of issues within the scope of his/her responsibilities and provides regular updates to the Regents on the academic and budgetary progress of the institution.

The Provost reports directly to the President. He/she works closely with the other executive officers and senior leaders of the institution. Additional information on the roles and responsibilities of the executive leadership team may be found at: http://president.umich.edu/leadership-team/executive-officers. More than thirty individuals report directly to the Provost, including the deans of the schools and colleges. In the capacity of dean, the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Medical School also reports to the Provost. The Provost is assisted by a number of Vice Provosts responsible for various domains and programs within the scope of the position.

The schematic below shows the basic reporting structure to and for the Provost. Additional information on the current organization and function of the Office of the Provost may be found at http://www.umich.edu/~provost.

All members of the professorial staff, the deans, and the executive officers of the University of Michigan comprise the University Senate. The Senate Assembly, an elected body of 74 members of the Senate, acts as the legislative arm of the Senate. The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) is the executive arm of the Senate and Senate Assembly, and consults on behalf of the Senate with the President, Provost, and other executive officers on matters of University policy. In addition, the Senate Assembly has established standing committees for consultation and advice specific to each of the vice presidents. In the case of the Provost, this committee is the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee.


Budget and Finance

The revenues and expenditures of the University are maintained in accordance with the principles of fund accounting. The total operating budget for the Ann Arbor campus was approximately $7.5 billion for fiscal year 2017 including about $3.7 billion for the University Health System. In FY 2017, the budget for the academic operations of the campus totaled approximately $3.4 billion, of which about $1.9 billion is in the General Fund. General Fund revenues for FY2017 included: $309 million appropriation from the State of Michigan, $1.395 billion in tuition and fees, and $227 million in indirect cost recoveries. Other sources of revenue for the academic enterprise include philanthropy, both gifts and endowment distribution ($465 million in FY 2017) and sponsored research, with expenditures for fiscal year 2017 projected at $1.1 billion, placing U-M among the top institutions in the nation in terms of largest expenditure of competitively awarded funds.

The University Budget (UB) system is a modified “activity-based” budget system that has evolved into its present form during the past decade. The UB system includes a mix of activity-based and discretionary budgeting. Increases in student enrollment and in sponsored research, as well as in auxiliary activity (such as provision of clinical services) lead to flows of resources to the units that do the work and obtain the revenue. The system generates significant funds for a Provost to invest in new initiatives and re-allocate resources among academic units to meet the changing needs of the University. More information on the budget system can be found at www.umich.edu/~provost/budgeting/.

In Fall 2013, the University publicly launched a $4 billion capital campaign titled Victors for Michigan. The priorities of the campaign are: student support, engaged learning and support of bold ideas. As of January, 2017, $3.8 billion has been raised and the University is on track to significantly surpass its original goal. The new Provost will work closely with the President, Vice President for Development, and other executive officers in completing the campaign, which will end in 2018. He or she will play a particular leadership role in the $1 billion campaign goal for student support as well as working closely with deans and directors on their unit campaign fundraising goals.


Other Major Responsibilities

In addition to the general responsibilities related to the academic and budgetary affairs of the institution, the Provost also provides leadership for the following current major initiatives and areas of focus:

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In Fall 2016, the University launched a five-year strategic plan to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. The plan was the product of an 18-month grassroots planning process that spanned the campus and resulted in 49 unit-based plans that were integrated into the campus-wide blueprint.   The University is investing $85 million in new funding in the five-year plan on top of its average annual spend of $40 million on DEI resources and programming. Overall responsibility for implementation of the plan rests with the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, a new role created by the plan and reporting to the Provost. For more information, please visit www.diversity.umich.edu/.

Academic Innovation

The University has launched a major effort to create a culture of innovation in teaching and learning. Spearheaded by the Office of Academic Innovation which reports to the Provost, the University is pushing forward programs in: personalized learning at scale, which facilitates large scale technology solutions for inside and outside the classroom; curricular innovation, which supports faculty use of new modes of learning such as residential MOOCs and flipped classrooms; and learning analytics, which seeks to empower students, faculty and administrators to make more informed choices to improve learning outcomes. For more information, please visit www.ai.umich.edu/events/ai-initiative/.

Poverty Solutions

Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan is a new interdisciplinary initiative launched in Fall 2016 that aims to become a leader in informing, identifying and testing new strategies for the prevention and alleviation of poverty in Michigan and beyond. While rooted in an understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty, the focus of Poverty Solutions will be on an action-based agenda informing strategies for the prevention and alleviation of poverty. Through its focus on research and engaged learning, and by joining forces with private foundations, government agencies, policymakers and community organizations, this initiative will be uniquely placed to do outstanding scholarship, train the next generation of leaders in this field, and foster positive change in society. For more information, please visit www.poverty.umich.edu.

Humanities Collaboratory

Launched by the UM Provost under the administrative umbrella of the Institute for the Humanities, the Michigan Humanities Collaboratory provides resources for humanities scholars to experiment with collaborative, team-based approaches to humanities research, its communication to the broader public, and the training of the next generation of humanities scholars. Led by humanities faculty, teams including other university faculty, librarians, and humanists, undergraduate and graduate students and postdocs, will work together on large-scale projects from development to dissemination as they develop new collaborative models of humanistic scholarship. For more information, visit https://www.sites.lsa.umich.edu/collaboratory/.

Environment and Sustainability

Under the leadership of the Provost, the University is pursuing major organizational changes related to its educational and research programming in the areas of the environment and sustainability. Central to the new structure is the creation of a new school, the School for Environment and Sustainability, that addresses global sustainability challenges at the intersection of the environment and society through research, teaching and civic engagement. As a new type of school, it will be organized around disciplinary clusters and interdisciplinary sustainability themes, relying on expertise from the fields of sustainability science, design, engineering, public policy, the humanities and the arts. For more information regarding environment and sustainability, please visit www.publicaffairs.vpcomm.umich.edu/environmentsustainability-education-structure/.


Based on the 2015 report of a faculty panel chaired by the Provost, President Schlissel has announced a major effort to integrate and strengthen the biosciences across the university. Key to these efforts is the creation of a new Vice Provost and Director of the Biosciences position that will report to the Provost and work with a coordinating committee of faculty and scientific leaders across the institution to recruit 30 outstanding new faculty scientists and invest an additional $150M in research infrastructure. Planning is also underway for campus-wide initiative in precision health. For more information, please visit www.president.umich.edu/areas-of-focus/biosciences/.

Data Science

In Fall 2015, the University announced its plans to invest $100 million over the next five years in a data science initiative to enhance opportunities for student and faculty researchers to tap into the enormous power of “big data.” The umbrella of the initiative supports faculty hiring, research initiatives, and educational opportunities as well as expanding UM’s research computing capacity and associated resources. As part of this initiative, the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) was formed and has launched challenge initiatives in learning analytics, transportation, social sciences and health sciences. The Data Science program is overseen by the Vice President for Research, with close interactions to the Provost. For more information, please visit www.midas.umich.edu/dsi/.


Professional Experience / Qualifications

The Provost is the intellectual and scholarly leader of the University of Michigan and has ultimate responsibility for all academic programs, operations, initiatives and budgets. Working with the President, the Board of Regents, and a diverse set of constituents including university administrators, faculty, students, staff, alumni, donors, foundations, and members of the larger community, the Provost will help to shape and articulate the University’s mission as a premiere public institution of higher education.

The Provost must be a scholar who qualifies for a tenured faculty appointment in a relevant department and who possesses vigor, high standards, and imagination. He/she must be committed to working to identify, increase, and improve opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in research and scholarship among faculty, and in teaching at the graduate, professional and undergraduate levels. She or he must recognize academic quality and excellence in diverse forms, encourage excellence at every level of the University, and make a priority increasing access for qualified students regardless of financial means.

The Provost must promote the mission of the University as a public institution. He or she must have a deep commitment to and understanding of diversity — in all of its dimensions — as a force for academic excellence at the heart of the institution’s mission. The Provost must be able to pursue and promote diversity, and to foster a meaningful and interactive pluralism within the University.

The Provost must be able to work adeptly and collegially in a decentralized environment, characterized by strong deans and academic and administrative leaders, and be able to lead, in an era of limited economic growth, the skillful and strategic allocation of the University’s resources in ways that advance academic excellence and opportunity.

Other qualities of the ideal candidate include:

  • An outstanding profile of intellectual leadership and of distinguished scholarship and teaching, suitable for a tenured appointment as a full professor, and an earned doctorate or other terminal degree;
  • Significant leadership and management experience in complex higher education environments, including strong financial and budget management skills;
  • Ability and willingness to take measured risks for the achievement of academic excellence;
  • Ability to inspire and galvanize the diverse and sometimes competing constituencies within the University to collaborate for common goals;
  • Commitment to academic freedom, tenure, and other traditional academic values as well as an appreciation for the value brought by diverse perspectives;
  • Demonstrated skill and experience in leading and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion as well as an understanding of and dedication to diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of University life;
  • Strong written and oral communication skills and the ability to represent and motivate support for the mission, interests, and accomplishments of the University to audiences within and beyond the campus;
  • The vision and tact to set priorities, to make difficult and controversial decisions, and to handle delicate personnel and personality conflicts;
  • A commitment to enhancing the quality of student learning at the graduate, undergraduate, and professional levels;
  • An understanding of the evolving role of libraries and technology in higher education and an appreciation for the technological needs of the University and its faculty;
  • Ability to delegate authority, motivate, collaborate, and trust and support the abilities of others;
  • Skill in working with administrators, faculty, staff, and students in a climate of openness and transparency, integrity, trust, mutual respect, and collaborative problem solving;
  • Ability to effectively and openly negotiate and build consensus in the context of academic and local communities, including a commitment to civic engagement;
  • Sensitivity, fairness, compassion, and objectivity in decision-making;
  • An active, energetic and well-organized personality, with a sense of humor and collegiality,
  • An appreciation of the culture and history of a large public research university, and the University of Michigan in particular; and
  • Personal and professional integrity in the highest degree.



The University of Michigan offers an attractive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and experience.


Nominations and applications

The Search Committee will begin reviewing candidates immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For fullest consideration, please apply by Thursday, March 2, 2017.

Applications should include 1) a detailed curriculum vitae and 2) a letter of interest that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described above, as well as the applicant’s motivation to apply. To ensure full consideration, inquiries, nominations, and applications should be submitted electronically, in confidence, to:


Ken Kring

Co-Managing Director / Senior Client Partner

Global Education Practice

1650 Arch Street, Suite 2300

Philadelphia, PA 19103

(215) 656-5309


Josh Ward, Ph.D.

Senior Associate

Global Education Practice

1650 Arch Street, Suite 2300

Philadelphia, PA 19103

(215) 656-5362


The University of Michigan is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.