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Tuesday, January 13, 2004
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Search for provost narrowed to three primary finalists
After a semester of reviewing applications and interviewing candidates, the provost search committee has named a geologist, a chemist and a political scientist as the front-runners for the university’s second-highest position.

By Jarod Daily
Staff Reporter


The three primary candidates for provost are described as men with contrasting styles, backgrounds and personalities.

“They’re different in terms of where they’ve been, what kind of place they’ve been at and what kinds of things they’ve done,” said Nadia Lahutsky, who chaired the provost search committee. “And they’re different personalities. That’s going to be obvious to people the second hour they’re on campus.”

The three finalists to replace William Koehler, who is retiring as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the end of the school year, were announced last week.

The finalists are R. Nowell Donovan, chairman of the TCU geology department; Arthur W. Herriott, a professor of chemistry and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida International University in Miami; and Michael L. Mezey, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago.

“Several people have already asked me who my favorite candidate is,” she said. “The truth of the matter is, I would be happy with any of these three persons as my provost.”

Lahutsky said about 90 people were nominated by professors and academics outside the university. About 60 people applied.

The applicants came from nominees and respondents from an advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education. From those applicants, the committee narrowed the pool down to eight individuals they invited to interview in person.

Lahutsky said the committee asked the candidates questions that ranged from the differences between leadership and management to books they had read recently.

In late January and early February, each candidate will visit campus for a two-day series of interviews with faculty, staff, students and Chancellor Victor Boschini. He plans to name the new provost in February and have him start later in the spring.

Boschini said he is looking for a candidate who is proficient in a variety of leadership skills.

“What I’m looking for is someone who is a good listener, someone who understands an academic environment, somebody who understands the difference between a public and a private school,” he said. “So I’ll ask questions aimed at those kind of issues.”

Boschini said the ability to listen is the most important quality for a provost to have.

“Because what you’ve got to do is take the wishes, hopes and dreams of the faculty and turn them into an academic agenda,” he said. “That’s difficult to do if you don’t listen to the wishes, hopes and dreams of the faculty.”

During each of the two-day interview sessions, candidates will meet with deans, department heads, vice chancellors, the Staff Assembly and Faculty Senate executive committees, the provost’s staff, athletic officials, university faculty and students selected by SGA President Jay Zeidman.

Donovan said he would contribute to the university with a balanced view of the relationship between teaching, scholarship and the success of academics.

“I am committed to the existing concept of the teacher-scholar model,” he said in an e-mail, “I think we may need to refine and, in some areas define, what we mean by the ‘teacher-scholar,’ but, by and large, as a modus operandi, it works.”

Donovan said he wants to bring a number of ideas to the table as provost.

“In my office I have a large file of ‘projects with potential’ that I would love to float in front of this community,” Donovan said.

Mezey said he applied because TCU is a good fit for him.

“It is a high quality, private institution located in an urban setting and it has a strong commitment to undergraduate education,” he said in an e-mail. “In those ways, it is very much like DePaul University, where I have spent a good part of my career.”

Herriott said he has no specific plans because he has not yet visited the campus, but looks forward to becoming more familiar with the university.

“Everything I have learned about TCU is very positive and I look forward to the campus visit next week and the opportunity to learn more about the university and the position,” he said.
Quick Facts
Provost Candidate
Interview Schedule


During each two-day interview session, candidates will meet with groups representing every aspect of involvement on campus, from the Faculty Senate and Staff Assembly executive committees to administrators to a group of students picked by SGA President Jay Zeidman. At the end of the two days, each candidate will meet with Chancellor Victor Boschini.

Jan. 20-21: Dr. Arthur Herriott
Jan. 26-27: Dr. Michael Mezey
Feb. 4-5: Dr. Nowell Donovan

R. Nowell Donovan
DOB: Sept. 2, 1943
Family: Married with two children
Current Job: Professor and Charles Moncrief Chair of Geology, TCU.
Previous Positions: Professor of Geology, Oklahoma State University; Tutor, Open University (Milton Keynes, U.K.); Demonstrator, Department of Geology, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Newcastle, U.K.).
Education: Ph.D., University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; B.S. University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Arthur W. Herriott
DOB: June 17, 1941
Family: Married with two children
Current Job: Professor of Chemistry, Florida International University (Miami)
Previous Positions: Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Florida International University; Assistant Professor of Chemistry, State University of New York at Albany; National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University.
Education: Ph.D., University of Florida, 1967; B.A., College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio), 1963.

Michael L. Mezey
DOB: April 9, 1943
Family: Married with two children
Current Job: Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, DePaul University (Chicago); Professor of Political Science, DePaul University.
Previous Positions: Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, DePaul University; Chair, Department of Political Science, DePaul University; Member, DePaul University Committee on Academic Programs and Regulations; Director, Comparative Legislative Studies Program, University of Hawaii; professor and adjunct positions at University of Hawaii, University of Virginia, University of Chicago, Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.) and Thammasat University (Bangkok, Thailand).
Education: Ph.D. Syracuse University, 1969; M.A. Syracuse University, 1966; B.A. The College of the City of New York, 1963.