Philip Hanlon will be named as the next University’s provost and executive vice president of academic affairs in an announcement expected to be made later today.

Courtesy of University of Michigan

Hanlon, who currently serves as the Donald J. Lewis Professor of Mathematics and vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs, will assume the position on July 1 under a five-year contract. He will succeed current University Provost Teresa Sullivan, who is set to leave the University on July 31 to assume the presidency at the University of Virginia. During the month of July, Sullivan will serve as special counselor to the president.

Coleman’s selection of Hanlon as the next University provost is contingent upon approval by the University’s Board of Regents at its Feb. 18 meeting. Today’s announcement comes just two weeks after Sullivan announced her intention to leave the University.

When Sullivan announced that she would be leaving her post for Charlottesville, University officials and Sullivan herself said her replacement would need to have experience as both an academic and budgetary administrator.

Hanlon, who is no stranger to the University community, has experience in both academic and financial management. He joined the University faculty in 1986 as an associate professor of mathematics, before becoming a full professor in 1990. In the last decade Hanlon has risen through the administration’s ranks, becoming the associate vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs in 2004. His title was changed to vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs in 2007.

In a statement set to be released later today, Coleman praised Hanlon as the right choice for the important post, which is responsible for overseeing all academic operations of the university and the general fund budget.

“Phil Hanlon has been exceptional in guiding academic programs and initiatives affecting all facets of the University,” Coleman wrote in the statement. “In particular, his command of budgetary issues has been critical to the University’s financial stability during challenging economic times. His appointment as provost reflects his distinct strengths as a teacher, scholar, administrator and leader.”

In the same statement, Hanlon wrote he felt privileged to have been selected for the position.

“The University of Michigan is an exceptional institution, at the forefront of public research universities,” Hanlon wrote. “I’m excited and deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve as provost.”

Choosing a successor from within the University community is consistent with University tradition — Sullivan was the first University of Michigan provost recruited from outside the University in more than 50 years.

The choice of Sullivan, who came to the University from the University of Texas at Austin, raised many concerns among University faculty in 2006, with some alleging that Coleman had applied pressure on the search committee to give preference to an outsider, since Coleman herself first joined the University when she became president.

No information on how Hanlon was selected for the post and whether any advisory search committee or national search firm was used in choosing the next provost was available yesterday.

However, when Sullivan announced she would leave the University, University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said officials were happy with the advance notice Sullivan provided.

“We’re fortunate that the provost has given the University time to consider the next steps in the process,” Cunningham wrote in an e-mail at the time.

When Sullivan announced she planned to leave the University to become the University of Virginia’s next president, she told The Michigan Daily she was confident her successor, though not named at that time, would need to be able to balance competing interests.

“This job is a little bit unusual compared with most provost jobs because of the budgetary responsibility and so I do think it’s going to be important to have someone who has either budgetary experience or the ability to pick that up pretty quickly,” Sullivan said at the time. “But, I think it’s important that you have somebody in this job who has a strong academic background and understands the aspirations of faculty.”

A veteran of the University community with extensive experience in the provost’s office, Hanlon fits the ticket. In addition to these characteristics, Sullivan told the Daily her successor would need to be forward thinking and open-minded.

“They need to be broad minded enough and interested enough so that they can have conversations with people from many fields, because in one day the provost interacts with people from all over the campus and it’s important to be able to have important conversations with them no matter where they come from,” Sullivan said at the time. “That does take a kind of breadth of intellectual vision that not everyone finds congenial.”

“I think there’s also something that we think of as the administrative personality,” she said. “It’s the ability to listen carefully and commute your own self interests in a conversation.”

University officials were not commenting on the anticipated announcement last night, but several executives and regents outlined qualifications they said would be essential for the next provost when Sullivan was announced as the University of Virginia’s next president two weeks ago.

Dean of Libraries Paul Courant, who served as the University’s Provost from 2002 to 2005 told the Daily at the time that the ability to balance academic and budgetary pressures would be paramount.

“The provost is the chief academic officer and the chief budget officer at the institution,” Courant said at the time. “The budget times are going to be tough over the next while and the provost has to be able to ensure that the academic missions of the University — learning, teaching, research — are always in the foreground as choices are made, especially in tough times.”

Prof. James Duderstadt, who rose through the University’s internal ranks to become provost and from 1988 to 1996 University president, highlighted several similar characteristics for Sullivan’s replacement. However, he said the deciding factor of whether a replacement would be successful would come down to his or her relationship with Coleman.

“In the end, I think it’s very much a relationship between the provost and president which makes universities work well,” he said at the time.

Duderstadt and Courant both said at the time that it was too early to tell whether the next provost would be selected from within the University or not. However, they said national searches are typically conducted for such a prominent position.

“We have some very capable deans right now and that’s the first pool you look at,” Duderstadt said at the time. “There’s a lot of talent inside, but there’s a lot of talent as you look across the country right now.”

“It’s often the case that provosts come from inside because it’s useful to know how the University works. I think that’s why it’s been done that way in the past,” Courant said at the time. “Yet, Terry was an extremely effective and successful provost here, so it’s clear that one can come from outside and do very, very well in the job.”

Though Hanlon won’t assume his new role for five months, his new position will place him into a job known for developing future university presidents.

In addition to Sullivan, who will leave for the University of Virginia’s presidency this summer, University of Michigan provosts often go on to serve as presidents of major institutions.

Charles M. Vest, who served as provost at the University in the late 1980s is the National Academy of Engineering’s president and is president emeritus for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

J. Bernard Machen, who served as the University’s provost from 1995 to 1997 currently serves as the University of Florida’s president and is president emeritus at the University of Utah.

Nancy Cantor, who became the University’s provost in 1997, currently serves as president of Syracuse University.

Though now University president emeritus, James Duderstadt followed a similar pattern.

“The provost position at Michigan has produces some of the great presidents in this country. That’s what people look to it for,” Duderstadt told the Daily when Sullivan was named UVA’s next president. “That’s what Michigan presidents look for. We look for provosts who have the capability to provide that kind of leadership at the national level.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.