Penn President Liz Magill forms search committee to select new provost

Acting Vice President Beth Winkelstein will continue in her role until the search committee completes its process. 1 credit

Penn President Liz Magill has formed a search committee to select a permanent provost to replace Beth Winkelstein, who currently serves in the role on an interim basis.

The committee, which was announcement Tuesday morning consists of 20 Penn students, faculty and staff, including Magill, as well as consultants from Isaacson Miller, an executive search firm. The committee is chaired by J. Larry Jameson, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president for the health system.

“I am pleased to announce the formation of a Provost Selection Advisory Committee to advise me on this important appointment,” Magill wrote in the announcement.

University spokesman Ron Ozio said committee members were “working hard” and it was not yet clear when their search for a new provost would end.

The Provost is the University’s academic director and second-in-command to the President, responsible for overseeing the administration of student and faculty affairs and working directly with Penn’s 12 Deans. Winkelstein, a professor of bioengineering, has served as acting provost since July 2021, when Wendell Pritchett took medical leave from the University. Pritchett returned to Penn as interim president until Magill took office.

“We are united at the hip in our efforts to take the institution to new heights,” Magill told the Daily Pennsylvanian in late July, when asked how she views the relationship between the provost and the president.

Among the four students on the committee are Carson Sheumaker, president of the Undergraduate Assembly; and Robert B. Watson, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly. Staff members who will serve include Joann Mitchell, who works in Magill’s office as senior vice president for institutional affairs and director of diversity; and Associate Vice President Pierce Buller, an adviser to Magill.

“I continually hope to lead the committee to prioritize students and student needs when hiring a new provost,” Sheumaker wrote in a statement to the DP. “Throughout the process, I hope to find candidates who have demonstrated a willingness to actively meet with all types of students, solicit student advice and feedback, and take actions that improve students at all levels.

In the announcement, Magill urged recommendations and research tips to be sent by October 14.

The appointment of a new provost will represent another major administrative change at Penn. Magill began her term as the University’s ninth president on July 1, and named new vice presidents for alumni relations and finance after their former office holders left.

On August 30, Winkelstein announced the formation of a committee to select the next vice provost for university life, who will replace acting vice provost for university life Tamara Greenfield King. The VPUL Committee is accepting applications and nominations for the position until October 20.

Brandon D. James