The Yale Corporation, the University’s highest decision-making body, will discuss the appointment of a new provost at its second meeting of the year this weekend.
Though the Corporation agenda is often kept confidential, Yale President Richard Levin said the Corporation will discuss the appointment of a new provost following this week’s announcement that current Yale Provost Alison Richard will be leaving the University Jan. 1 to become vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge in England. Corporation members will also discuss budget issues, labor negotiations and long-term financial planning, sources said.
Levin sent an e-mail to Yale faculty and staff members Wednesday asking them to recommend candidates for the provost position. Wednesday night, Levin said he had received approximately 100 responses. From the 20 names those e-mails yielded, Levin said he has narrowed down the list of candidates.
“I’ll certainly talk to the Corporation about the process and a number of possible candidates,” Levin said. “What I’ll be asking for at the Corporation meeting is for the authority to appoint a provost, which would then mean I could make an appointment without a formal vote and then have the formal vote at our next meeting.”
Although the Corporation makes the final decision, history professor emeritus Gaddis Smith said the body is likely to approve Levin’s choice for the post.
“The selection of the provost is very much in the hands of the president,” Smith said. “Technically, the president does select all of the officers including the deans — [but] there tends to be a much greater search, say, for the Dean of Yale College.”
Levin said he wants to move quickly to appoint a new provost and name Richard’s successor by Jan.1.
“Historically, unlike deans’ jobs, this has been something the president has decided in consultation with the faculty, without a search committee,” Levin said.
Corporation member Roland Betts ’68 said while Yale has many talented female faculty members, it is too early to tell if the new provost will be a woman.
“I want to appoint the best person,” Betts said.
Richard said she will present budget planning efforts to the Corporation at this weekend’s meetings. Richard’s presentation comes amid a weak national economy, which has created budget problems for a number of elite universities, including Stanford and Brown.
Corporation members are likely to visit the Betts House Friday to learn firsthand about the World Fellows Program and the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, a knowledgeable University source said. Following a $5 million donation from Betts last year, the University dedicated the Betts House last month.
Betts said the Corporation is likely to discuss long-term financial planning and union issues as well.
“I would expect that we will be updated on the status of labor discussions,” Betts said. “There wasn’t much out of the ordinary [on the agenda] — I’d say it’s fair to say it’s a fairly standard meeting. Business as usual.”