February 20, 2014
Colleagues and friends:
Over these past four years, we have been abundantly blessed by Dr. Elizabeth Davis' skillful leadership as our Provost. But it will soon be time to bid her farewell. Baylor's loss is surely Furman's gain.
With great anticipation, we eagerly look forward to the next chapter in Baylor's unfolding history as we commence the search for our next Provost. As you know, during this time of transition, Dean David Garland has graciously agreed to serve as Interim Provost. Dean Garland, who will provide outstanding leadership during this interim period, will not be a candidate to fill the permanent position. For David's sacrificial service, we are most thankful.
This is a historic occasion for our campus community as we reach out to identify our next chief academic officer. To that end, I have asked Dr. Todd Still, The William H. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett Seminary, to chair the Search Committee. He has graciously agreed to serve. Jordan Hannah, who serves as Deputy Chief of Staff in the President's Office, will facilitate day-to-day operations of the Search Committee under Dr. Still's guidance.
By God's grace, we plan to move the search process forward expeditiously. Accordingly, I have asked Dr. Still to confer with groups of faculty, staff, students, senior administrators and regents over the next few weeks to discuss in detail the requisite qualities of our University's next Provost. Informed by his campus-wide conversations, Dr. Still will provide invaluable recommendations for membership on the Search Committee.
In constituting the Search Committee, my sincere hope is to identify individuals who warmly embrace a University-wide perspective. It is vital that all Committee members labor collaboratively, with energy and creativity, on behalf of the University as a whole, rather than more narrowly represent the particular interests of individual units or programs. Inasmuch as a goodly measure of the Committee's work must inevitably take place within the realm of complete confidence, it is important that the Search Committee members enjoy the full trust of the Baylor community.
As to scope, the search will be global. The Committee, I anticipate, will carefully consider candidates both from within the University and beyond. In conjunction with a leading executive search firm, the Committee will seek out superbly qualified prospects and thoroughly assess their academic credentials, leadership potential and commitment to Baylor's Christian mission.
From this initial pool, a smaller group will be invited to meet face-to-face with the Search Committee. Then, a set of finalists will be vetted in detail. The Search Committee will thereafter present recommendations to me. After appropriate consultation with the Board of Regents, I expect to select the next Provost from among those finalists.
Dr. Still and the Committee, once constituted, will provide further details with respect to the search process as soon as practicable. In the meantime, let me reiterate my commitment to identifying an energetic and creative academic leader to join us as we work to advance Baylor's aspirations under Pro Futuris as a university with very high research activity, while reaffirming and strengthening our distinctive Christian mission.
Thank you for your active participation in this vitally important process. After your own prayerful reflections, please send, as soon as possible, your suggestions and recommendations as to potential committee members directly to Dr. Still. For these purposes, please send your comments and responses to this address: Provost_Search@baylor.edu
Kenneth Winston Starr
President and Chancellor