Eston Bond

Teresa Sullivan, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the University of Texas system, is expected to be named the next provost of the University of Michigan when classes resume for the winter term, The Michigan Daily has learned from several individuals familiar with the search process.

If approved by the University Board of Regents, the combination of Mary Sue Coleman, who was formerly the president of the University of Iowa, as president and Sullivan as provost will mark the first time in University history that both positions have been filled by individuals from outside of the University.

The provost, whose title also includes executive vice president for academic affairs, is considered the number-two administrator at the University, reporting only to the president. The provost manages the academic and budgetary aspects of the University.

Sullivan will replace interim Provost Edward Gramlich, who has held the position for the fall term, following the resignation of former Provost Paul Courant, who was popular among much of the faculty.

The search process leading up to this selection was at times criticized as too secretive. At a recent meeting of the Senate Advisory Committee on University affairs, the executive arm of University faculty governance, SACUA member and Engineering Prof. Semyon Meerkov sparred with Coleman, suggesting she was neglecting to consult the faculty in the search process.

Coleman responded that unlike the selection of some other administrative positions, the selection of provost is her decision.

University spokeswoman Julie Peterson, who would neither confirm nor deny this report, said that the search was closed, just as other searches for high-level University positions are closed, because many candidates for those positions do not want their names made public.

The search committee was formed in April and chaired by James Jackson, director of the Institute for Social Research. 

Sullivan will face a number of challenges as provost. Faced with a sputtering economy, the state has been cutting funding to the University in recent years. In 2002, the state allocated $363 million to the University, but that number will be $316.3 million for 2006.

Prior to becoming executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, Sullivan was the vice president and dean of graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She has also served as a professor of sociology and law. She received her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and her master’s and doctorate from the University of Chicago.


– Donn M. Fresard contributed to this report.

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