Search Focuses on July 1 as Start Date for New Provost

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: January 14, 2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The search for a successor to outgoing Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi is well under way, with a search committee in place, and the university hiring the same national search firm that assisted in the recent presidential search.

President John B. Simpson has named A. Scott Weber, professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, as chair of the nine-member search committee. Simpson has given the panel an aggressive timeline -- the anticipated start date for the new provost is July 1.

The search committee, which is working with the national search firm of Witt/Kieffer, is charged with reviewing all qualified nominations and providing Simpson with recommendations and evaluations of, at minimum, the panel's top three candidates in unranked order, by April 15.

Simpson will conduct a series of final interviews with the top candidates, a process that he promises will include "wide participation from the campus community."

Weber says the search committee is avidly seeking the input of members of the UB community in the search process.

"The search committee strongly encourages the UB community to share its thoughts as we move forward with this crucial appointment," Weber says. "While all candidate identities will be confidential until the time of the final campus interviews, we plan to be open about our process."

To facilitate the search process, the committee plans to hold meetings with various campus constituencies to gather information, concerns and ideas about the position of provost and the search process in general, he says, adding that comments and suggestions may be sent to the committee via email at

Nominations for the position of provost also are encouraged, Weber notes, and names may be emailed to the search firm at

As with the presidential search, a Web site has been established for the provostal search and may be accessed at Weber says the Web site provides information regarding the position and UB, and candidates will be urged to review it thoroughly.

Weber says the search panel conducted its first meeting on Dec. 15 to discuss the beginning steps of the search.

"Because the search firm has a great deal of familiarity with UB, the process is already well on the way," he says.

The search committee will work closely with Ilene H. Nagel and Jean Dowdall from Witt/Kieffer. Nagel participates in Witt/Kieffer searches for senior officers in research universities; Dowdall led the search firm's efforts on behalf of the UB presidential search committee.

In addition to Weber, members of the committee are Diane R. Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences; Michael E. Cohen, professor in the departments of Neurology and Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Mary H. Gresham, vice president for public service and urban affairs, and dean of the Graduate School of Education; Gerald Lippes, UB Council member; Kevin R. Seitz, vice president for university services; Uday P. Sukhatme, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Larissa LaCour, a student in the Graduate School of Education, and Jocelyn Tejeda, an undergraduate in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Several of the committee members also served on the presidential search committee. They are Weber, Christian, Cohen, Gresham and Lippes.