University provost finalists announced

UConn president Susan Herbst will select a new provost by the end of the calendar year and they will begin at UConn in the summer of 2018, according to an email sent out by the university. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut Communications announced the finalists for the position of Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs on Tuesday morning.

UConn president Susan Herbst will select a new provost by the end of the calendar year and they will begin at UConn in the summer of 2018, according to an email sent out by the university.

After a nationwide search, Craig Kennedy, Sam Mukasa and Chaden Djalali were chosen as the finalists, according to the email. The finalists are currently employed at the University of Georgia, the University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa, respectively.

Each candidate will visit the campus during November to meet with key university faculty, staff and students, according to the university’s announcement.

The candidates will partake in a 90-minute open forum in which they will discuss their profession and how they chose to pursue a career in education, the announcement said. The candidates will also be asked what they consider to be the most pressing issues in higher education today.

None of the candidates currently work for the university.

“Having candidates from outside of the university is common. Most searches for staff and faculty positions include candidates from outside the university,” UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.

As to why no internal UConn staff or faculty were selected, Reitz said none applied for the position.

With the newly-agreed-upon $143 million budget cut by the state, Reitz said the new provost’s salary will be based on national benchmarks for this position as well as the candidate’s skills and experience.

“Whether a candidate is external or internal has no bearing on their salary,” Reitz said. “External candidates do not automatically command higher salaries, just as internal candidates do not automatically command lower salaries.”

Kennedy serves as the dean of the School of Education in Georgia, Mukasa is the dean of the College of Science and Engineering in Minnesota and Djalali is the dean of students for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Iowa, according to the announcement.

The process for selecting the finalists, Reitz said, involved the president appointing a search committee comprised of faculty, staff and students.

The position was advertised nationally. After the applications were submitted, the committee read them, interviewed a group of candidates and recommended three final applicants, Reitz said. The selection committee was chosen Herbst.

According to the UConn Department of Human Resources website, the position of Provost & Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs is defined as someone who “oversees academic and institutional strategic planning, and plays a major role in the budgeting and allocation of University resources.” (https://hr.uconn.edu/provost-evp-academic-affairs/)

The university provost is “the second senior-most leader at the University with responsibility for all academic units and operations,” the website stated.

Students were involved in the selection process of the high-ranking university representative and are encouraged by UConn to attend the open forums, according to the announcement.

The forums will all be followed by a Q&A session with the audience, according to the email.

The first open forum will take place with Kennedy on Friday, Nov. 3 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Information Technologies Engineering building (ITE) room C80.

Mukasa will be holding his forum on Tuesday, Nov. 7 from 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. in the Konover Auditorium at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.

The final open forum is with Djalali on Friday, Nov. 9 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Student Union Theater.

While students and faculty are encouraged to attend the open forums, each one will be recorded and posted online and in the Daily Digest as well, according to the email.


Abby Brone is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at abigail.brone@uconn.edu.