AUSTIN, Texas—A new vice provost position at The University of Texas at Austin with the responsibility “to oversee and to improve progress in the development of a more diverse university” has been created by Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of the university.
Faulkner said the position of vice provost for inclusion and cross-cultural effectiveness would report to Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson, who will begin a search for qualified candidates. The president’s decision to create the new position was announced late Friday (Aug. 27) in a letter to members of the University Leadership Council, Faculty Council Executive Committee and Presidential Student Advisory Committee.
Faulkner said he is prepared to assign $500,000 toward incentive programs that the new vice provost will oversee in 2004-2005.
The appointment follows Faulkner’s response to the Task Force on Racial Respect and Fairness last May in which he noted the need for a campus-level leadership position to develop a more diverse university.
The task force had recommended the creation of a vice presidential position. Faulkner acknowledged the need for “a structure that can provide for more consistent attention” to the initiative. He proposed the appointment of a “central officer” who would lead the efforts and suggested it could be a vice president, a vice provost or an associate to the president. Faulkner also noted in May that he would decide among the alternatives on the basis of further discussions during the summer.
“During the weeks since my response to the report of the Task Force on Racial Respect and Fairness, my belief that we need full-time leadership has been confirmed,” Faulkner said in his letter. “I am very pleased to be taking these steps toward realizing it.”
Faulkner’s letter said he decided this officer should be a vice provost because this position “provides the best proximity to the areas where action can most benefit the university—in the recruitment of students, in the recruitment and development of faculty, and in curriculum.”
The president said the new vice provost clearly must be a “hands-on” facilitator, actively involved with the individual officers and units who carry on the day-to-day business of the university, so proximity to the most critical business is important.
“While the largest part of that business lies within the provost’s portfolio, other important activities, especially related to the recruitment and development of staff, lie in other vice presidential portfolios,” Faulkner said. “Consequently, the new vice provost will chair the University Council on Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Effectiveness, whose members will be designees of the vice presidents. In my earlier response, I addressed the responsibilities of the council, which will provide a forum for the new vice provost to benefit relevant activities across the campus.”
Faulkner said the new vice provost would have “ready access” to the president, the provost and the vice presidents and deans. This officer also would have resources available to sponsor beneficial new programs across the university and would report annually on progress to the leadership of the university and to the public.
“The new vice provost position will allow us to pursue more aggressively our broad-based search for the best and brightest talent available among students, faculty and staff,” said Ekland-Olson. “It will also help us further strengthen academic programs across campus. Taken together, these efforts better ensure that UT students will develop the skills, perspectives and experiences necessary to assume leadership roles in the world they will enter.”
For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.