Administrative structure committee recommends 'strong provost' model

Report advocates returning to the provost's office responsibilities assigned to senior vice president for students and enrollment in 2000

Photo/Mike Lovett

Heller School Dean Lisa Lynch chaired the Administrative Structure Advisory Committee

A committee formed by President Jehuda Reinharz and President-elect Frederick Lawrence has concluded that Brandeis would be best served by a provost who acts as the chief academic officer and the second-ranking member of the administration.

The newly defined role of the provost emerges in five of the seven recommendations made by the Administrative Structure Advisory Committee (site accessible with UNet ID and password), which said it is time to return to the provost several areas of responsibility that were moved to the Office of the Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment when that position was created in 2000.

Reinharz and Lawrence formed the committee in early September to review the responsibilities of the two offices prior to national searches for the next provost and senior vice president for students and enrollment. Those searches will begin in January. Lawrence presented the findings at the Dec. 2 faculty meeting.

“I want to thank committee members for their diligence, and I particularly appreciate the effort they made to speak with the many constituencies that make up Brandeis,” said Lawrence. “The findings are thoughtful and instructive and I will embrace these recommendations, which are consistent with our aspirations to be an excellent liberal arts college within an elite research university.”

The position of senior vice president for students and enrollment has been vacant since Jean Eddy left last summer for a position at the Rhode Island School of Design after serving for 10 years. Provost Marty Krauss announced a short time later that she would step down after more than seven years and return to the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

In its first recommendation, the committee said Brandeis should join institutions like Dartmouth, Tufts, Yale, Princeton, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins and Brown in creating a “strong provost” model.

“Brandeis has now reached a stage in its development and maturation as an institution of higher education to have a senior leadership structure more similar to its peers in the AAU [Association of American Universities] and elsewhere,” the report states. The committee envisions a provost who works closely and collaboratively with the president in his or her role as chief academic officer “and presides over the affairs of the university in the absence of the president.”

“The next provost should take the lead in long-term planning and priority-setting decisions, and work in partnership with the chief financial officer to assure that resources and budgetary plans are in line with institutional priorities,” the report stated.

The committee also recommended that the university:

  • Redefine the role of the senior vice president for students and enrollment to “focus on the recruitment, retention, quality of life, [and] post-graduation outcomes for the entire student body.”
  • Change the reporting structure for the Office of the Registrar so that it reports to the provost, with a dotted line to the Office of Students and Enrollment.
  • Change the reporting structure for academic services so that it reports to the provost, with a dotted line to the Office of Students and Enrollment.
  • Complete the search for the provost before hiring a senior vice president for students and enrollment to “ensure a culture of cooperation and collaboration.”
  • Maintain the current reporting structure of the president’s senior staff while acknowledging that the provost is the “first among equals.”
  • Strengthen university planning by expanding and renaming the Integrated Planning Committee, which would become the Integrated Planning and Budget Committee and be chaired by the provost.

“As we consider the most important qualities needed for the next provost and the next senior vice president of students and enrollment at Brandeis," the report states, "it is clear that they must be leaders and advocates for both the students and faculty and jointly promote a campus that truly values and encourages excellence in and out of the classroom.”

The committee also addressed several areas it recognized as contributing to the strong functioning of the university, and urged that senior leadership address them to best position Brandeis for the future.

These areas included faculty governance, institutional research, graduate students, international students, academic advising, clarifying the roles of the provost and the dean of arts and sciences, exploring the future of non-traditional education, coordinating summer use of the campus, centers and institutes, library and technology services and the creation of pathways for development of administrative staff from the faculty.

The committee, chaired by Heller School Dean Lisa Lynch, conducted more than 30 meetings with the president and president-elect, faculty, faculty committees, students, trustees, former and current provosts, deans, vice presidents and individuals reporting to the president, provost and senior vice presidents.

“Almost all of these constituencies agreed that the university as a whole would benefit from more and better communication and collaboration between these two offices, and indeed throughout and across the university. This will be especially important in the context of the changing landscape of higher education in the years to come,” the report states.

Other committee members are: Assistant Provost for Graduate Student Affairs Alwina Bennett, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Frances Drolette, Dean of Academic Services Kim Godsoe, Professor and Chair of the Faculty Senate Timothy Hickey, Brandeis International Business School Dean Bruce Magid, Vice President for Enrollment Keenyn McFarlane and Senior Associate Dean for Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Education Elaine Wong.

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