UConn president announces selection of new provost

University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst announced the newly selected Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Craig H. Kennedy, in an email Wednesday morning.

The announcement stated Kennedy is set to begin working at UConn in April 2018, a change from the previous announcement which said the new provost would begin in summer 2018.

The position of Provost & Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs is defined as “oversee(ing) academic and institutional strategic planning, and plays a major role in the budgeting and allocation of University resources,” according to the UConn Department of Human Resources website.  

Kennedy previously worked at the University of Georgia and served as the Dean of Students for five years, according to the announcement.

Prior to his time in Georgia, Kennedy spent 15 years at Vanderbilt University, according to Herbst.

Herbst emphasized the benefits of having worked at both private and public universities.

“Working at the highest levels in these institutions enables one to bring all that is the best from both,” Herbst said of working in both public and private universities.

Kennedy plans to visit UConn frequently throughout the coming months to prepare for the transition, according to the announcement.

“As provost, my fundamental goal will be to work closely with President Herbst and my colleagues to chart a strategic path forward for academics at UConn, ensuring that our faculty, students and staff have the tools they need in order to be successful when it comes to teaching, research and service,” Kennedy said to UConn Today. 

Herbst praised Kennedy in the announcement as being “a distinguished scholar in his own right and a highly effective academic leader.”

“He has shown that he is adept at embracing opportunities and innovation in higher education, while also making the difficult decisions that every Provost must make in an era of diminished resources,” Herbst said.

Kennedy was one of three finalists, including Sam Mukasa and Chaden Djalali.

The finalists partook in a 90-minute open forum in which each candidate was asked to discuss their careers and what they considered the most pressing issue in higher education. The selection committee’s decision was announced 20 days after the final open forum took place.  

The selection committee was composed of faculty, staff and students, according to the previous announcement from the president.

While the selection process was meant to engage students, some were still completely unaware that there was to be a shift in provost.

Leila Gallupe, a third semester speech, language and hearing sciences major, said she did not know there was to be a change in provost at all.

“I’m not quite sure what the provost does, it sounds important,” Gallupe said. “I feel like it has something to do with the Dean of Students.”

Gallupe admitted she “opened the email, read the first line and deleted it.”

Gallupe said she sees the flaw of announcing such information is the manner in which it is presented.

“It’s just not an appealing way to present the information. They are just really long emails with long blocks of text,” Gallupe said. “I don’t have the time to devote to reading the whole thing if it’s not a topic that I feel like is really important to me.”

During the provost seeking process, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Jeremy Teitelbaum acted as interim provost since Feb. 1st, according to UConn Today.

Following the transition, Teitelbaum plans to return to the faculty, according to Herbst’s announcement.

“I have been struck by the incredible pride that members of the UConn community have for this university. UConn’s students, faculty, staff, and leadership all exude a powerful sense of ambition and enthusiasm,” Kennedy said to UConn Today. “As leaders, we must be wise enough to support the essential pillars of being a comprehensive research university, while also embracing creative innovation and new thinking as the world around us continually changes.”  


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