Search committee for new provost seeks Cornellians’ input

The search for a new provost is about to begin.

The current provost, Michael I. Kotlikoff, has announced the formation of a search committee tasked with selecting his replacement as he prepares to take the role of interim president on July 1. He expects the new provost to start by Jan. 1, 2025, he said.

The preparation for the transition follows President Martha E. Pollack’s decision to retire on June 30.

“The search committee and I invite and welcome the Cornell community to share its ideas and aspirations for the university and the next provost,” Kotlikoff said. “Cornell has many outstanding and committed leaders, and I’m confident that together we will find a successful chief academic officer, who will lead this next important phase of the university.”

The search committee has been formed, and its members are encouraging the Cornell community to offer input on the new provost, said search committee co-chair Anne Meinig Smalling ’87, president and managing partner of HM International and incoming chair of the Executive Committee of the Cornell Board of Trustees.

“We want to assure Cornellians we’re seeking their feedback, and we’re encouraging folks to participate in the process,” Smalling said.

To that end, a series of virtual town halls has been scheduled, so Cornell faculty, staff, alumni and students can participate regardless of their location.

As the university’s chief academic officer, the provost provides leadership for the planning, development, implementation, assessment and improvement of all academic programs, policies and supporting infrastructure, other than those reporting to the provost for medical affairs.

Given the importance of the next provost having a thorough understanding of Cornell, this will be an internal search, considering only candidates affiliated with the university, said search committee co-chair Lorin Warnick, Ph.D. ’94, the Austin O. Hooey Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“This will be a rigorous search process,” he said. “It’s a very important position for the campus, because of all the responsibilities and leadership for recruitment of excellent faculty, supporting diverse education, research and outreach programs, and ensuring the quality of facilities and other resources that support them. It’s a big responsibility and an exciting opportunity to help shape the future of the university.”

That’s why the membership of the search committee is intentionally diverse, Smalling said. “We’ve drawn on a very broad swath of folks to participate, from across colleges, constituencies and academic disciplines, as well as undergraduate and graduate student representation,” Smalling said.

The committee will solicit qualified candidates and screen their academic credentials and leadership potential ideally by the end of July, Warnick said. From this pool, a small group of finalists will be vetted during interviews and on-campus meetings in early August, he said. In subsequent months, based on this input and its own assessments, the search committee will present recommendations to Kotlikoff; he will consult the chair of the Board of Trustees, Kraig Kayser, MBA ’84, in reaching a final decision.

A series of virtual town hall forums will be hosted by consultants representing an executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, that the administration has hired to assist with the search. The consultants, Kate Barry and Karen McPhedran, will listen to the Cornell community’s hopes and vision for the new provost and the university. The forums will take place as follows:

  • For faculty: Thursday, June 13, 4-5 p.m., and Monday, June 17, 10-11 a.m.
  • For staff: Thursday, June 13, noon to 1 p.m.

All meetings will be via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 948 4531 0968

Passcode: 489365

To encourage frank and robust input, the town halls will not be recorded. Comments can also be made via an online survey

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