Senior VP for Academic Affairs and Provost


Arizona’s First University, the University of Arizona, has been a national and global leader in innovative research, teaching and outreach for over a century. From the acclaimed work of UA scientists on the Mars landing to its path-breaking response to addressing both health disparities and crucial shortages of medical professionals, and from its many governmental and industry partnerships in technology and entrepreneurship to its core concern in meeting the needs of underserved populations, the University of Arizona cares for the world it exists to serve. The University’s faculty members include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, McArthur Grant recipients, and more. With scores of top-ranked academic programs, the University is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top-20 public research universities.

Yet there is more that defines this place, and that distinguishes it from other great public universities. The University’s central ethic is to apply world-class basic research to pressing social concerns so as to meet the dynamic needs of the world’s people and industries and to assure a more prosperous and humane future. The University of Arizona believes very strongly in the “public” part of its mission, even as it is inventing new vehicles for partnering with, and serving, both private and public sectors of the economy. In short, it takes its land-grant status and mission very seriously.

The UA has also long been one of the world’s best centers of genuine interdisciplinary exchange, with permeable membranes across campus, across cultures, across borders, and across disciplines. Colleagues drawn from other institutions are often stunned by the degree to which barriers to intellectual collaboration here are lowered, and by the fact that genuine cross-disciplinary work is celebrated, both institutionally and among the faculty. Newcomers also experience the relative absence of dogmatism or wooden convention, as the western location and the multicultural setting place a premium on experimentation and the pursuit of new ideas and forms, rather than on the following of customary intellectual norms to the exclusion of invention.

Drawing from the strengths of its unique location – amidst the Sonoran Desert, surrounded by multiple tribal lands and only 60 miles from the Mexico-U.S. border, rimmed by multiple mountain ranges and faced with the promise of solar energy and the great peril of water shortages, and with some of the world’s most powerful telescopes aimed at the heavens – the University is a natural laboratory for working on some of the planet’s most pressing cultural, social, artistic, legal, medical, scientific, and technological concerns. The people drawn to work here are exceptionally committed to addressing these issues, not only to advance the goals of this region but to serve a world that shares these common problems. Faculty and students draw on curricular and programmatic strengths that have century-old roots at Arizona’s Flagship University, but they also face outward and forward to address 21st century imperatives. For example, the University has long led the region and the world in planetary science, in environmental science and policy, in indigenous peoples’ law and policy, in matters that touch on international business and immigration policy, and in the health sciences.

University of Arizona students learn from the commitment of their professors to nurture the world, and to pursue the public good. In our diverse undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, the common theme is access to excellence, and to lifting the sights of our students as future teachers, scientists, writers, public leaders, and businesspeople. The UA’s academic programs are demanding and ever evolving to assure that our graduates are profession ready, and that they are given the writing, research, technological and other experiences necessary to equip them for a complex economy and diverse world beyond college. From the Honors College to the Arizona Assurance Program, the University offers specialized opportunities for undergraduate learning, personal growth, and civic engagement. Exceptional graduate and professional programs offer outstanding opportunities for advanced research training, collaboration with international centers of excellence, and teaching experience, all under the guidance of leaders in each student’s discipline.

In our academic programs, we teach students responsibility while cultivating a sense of genuine community. The campus is open, diverse, and complex, but also filled with a special Wildcat spirit that extends from admission and beyond to embrace a wide and proud alumni network. We leverage the size and diversity of our student body – nearly 40,000 strong – with the relative intimacy of a mid-sized urban setting in order to foster close intellectual, social, and creative collaborations, both in the classroom and the region. This is all pursued in place of unparalleled natural beauty, in a city that is accessible, alive, and communal, and that offers rich cultural, educational and business opportunities as well as the special attractions characteristic of a University-centered town.

For students and faculty who thrive in dense urban settings like Manhattan, Chicago or Los Angeles, this is not the spot. For those whose intellectual and aesthetic sensibilities resonate with the “cactus ivy” difference, Tucson and the University of Arizona are like no place else on earth.

University Highlights

The UA is ranked No. 183 among the world’s top 700 universities by QS World University Rankings (2012-2013), based on research, student employability, teaching, and global impact. QS World University Rankings also place the UA No. 139 in natural sciences, No. 176 in arts and humanities, No. 200 in social sciences and management, No. 216 in engineering and technology, and No. 233 in life sciences and medicine, based on academic reputation in those five broad faculty areas.

The University of Arizona Medical Center – University Campus is ranked No. 9 overall in the areas of mortality, effectiveness, safety, equity, patient centeredness and efficiency, earning it a 2012 Quality Leadership Award from the University Health System Consortium. The hospital also won the award in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The James E. Rogers College of Law scored an A- in the 2012 list of Best Value Law Schools by National Jurist magazine. The annual list is designed to find the law schools where graduates have the best chance of passing the bar and landing a job in the legal field with a minimal amount of debt.

The College of Engineering undergraduate program is ranked No. 50 among schools in which the highest degree is a doctorate in the U.S. News & World Report issue, “America’s Best Colleges 2013.” The special edition of the magazine also identified the UA as a leader in undergraduate research and creative projects in its “Programs to Look For” section.

The UA is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, a distinction it shares with 60 of the leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.

The Eller College of Management’s undergraduate management information systems program is ranked No. 3 and the college itself was ranked No. 24 among undergraduate business programs at public and private national universities in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges 2013.”

With more than $600 million in federal funding, the UA in 2012 is ranked No. 18 in research and development expenditures among public universities and colleges and No. 24 among all public and private universities in the United States, according to the National Science Foundation.

U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list ranks UA’s Medical Center – University Campus No. 33 out of roughly 5,000 U.S. hospitals for geriatrics. Only hospitals ranked among the top 50 in one or more of 16 specialties measured by the magazine are considered “best hospitals.” The list ranked 11 of UAMC’s other medical specialties as “high performing”: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, ear, nose and throat, gastroenterology, gynecology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology.

The following graduate programs are ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report in 2012: geology (No. 1), speech, language and hearing sciences (No. 5), management infor­mation systems (No. 5), analytical chemistry (No. 6), rehabilitation counseling (No. 6), Earth and environmental sciences (No. 7), atomic, molecular and optical physics (No. 7), entrepreneurship (No. 8), ecology and evolutionary biology (No. 9), pharmacy (No. 10), and geochemistry (No. 10).

The most recent ranking places the UA 13th among all large U.S. universitiesin the number of alumni who served as volunteers in the Peace Corps.

At 25 years and counting, the UA’s Astronomy Campis Arizona’s longest-running science camp, and it also has pioneered a unique research-based approach to STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – education.

Eight graduate programs in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences were ranked in the top 25 in their respective disciplines by the National Research Council in 2011: anthropology (No. 3), sociology (No. 7), communication (No. 8), geography (No. 8), public administration (No. 11), philosophy (No. 13), linguistics (No. 14), and political science (No. 21).

The UA’s Biosphere 2 facility provides scientists from around the world a unique living laboratory to study some of the planet’s most critical issues – landscape evolution, water, climate, energy, and sustainability – as well as educates visitors of all ages about ecology and climate change.

The UA received a Gold Star rating in 2012 from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

The UA is the top-ranked research university for planetary exploration, a distinction based on citations in the scientific literature. The UA’s planetary research articles have been cited more than 10,000 times over the last 10 years, according to

The UA’s College of Medicine is the 9th best medical school in the nation for Hispanic students, according to Hispanic Business Magazine’s annual ranking of graduate schools in 2009.

Position Summary

The University of Arizona is seeking a proven distinguished and innovative leader to guide the institution in achieving exceptional advancement in the 21st century. The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost will report directly to the University’s new President, Dr. Ann Weaver Hart. As chief academic officer and first-in-line to the President, the new Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost will not only manage the day-to-day operations of the University, but also will work with the President to define the institution’s wider vision. This includes, crucially, shaping the ways that the University responds to its public land-grant mission in the face of a number of distinctly 21st century challenges – to higher education, to our nation, and to the world.

Reporting to this position are: the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, the Chief Information Officer, the Vice President for Human Resources, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and sixteen academic deans. The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is a member of the President’s cabinet, and is expected to work closely and collaboratively with its other members: the Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel; the Senior Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer; the Vice President for Regional Development, Outreach, and Global Initiatives; the Senior Vice President for Research; the Senior Vice President for University Relations; and the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences.

The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is responsible for the design and implementation of the University’s ongoing strategic academic planning and resource alignment efforts. She/he will help articulate and implement a vision for the University of Arizona, including its network of research, outreach, and instructional centers and its role in the State of Arizona, the nation, and world. The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost must have an enduring commitment to achieving excellence-through-diversity, both in human resources and in ideas.

The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is the President’s principal liaison to the Faculty Senate, which represents the faculty in the University of Arizona’s system of shared governance. In close collaboration with the President and in close consultation with the Faculty Senate, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is responsible for ensuring the academic preeminence of the University by guiding academic planning efforts, promoting campus-wide academic initiatives, recruiting and retaining a diverse and outstanding faculty, allocating resources among the deans, and formulating academic policies.

As the chief academic officer, the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is charged with working closely with the new Senior Vice President for Health Sciences to advance her/his priorities for the new College of Medicine in Phoenix, as well as for those of the Main Campus’s colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health.

The Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is the chief academic budget officer and must partner with the President and the Senior Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer in: aligning academic priorities with financial resources; guiding campus efforts in strategic planning; and overseeing the campus-wide budgetary process.

Other duties include:

  • Working with leadership from University Relations, the UA’s schools and colleges, the Alumni Association, and the University of Arizona Foundation in the planning of institutional advancement priorities.
  • Working with the Senior Vice President for Research to: advance the University’s research agenda; establish partnerships with ongoing and emerging businesses and industries; infuse research and creative expression throughout undergraduate and graduate education; and promote outreach and engagement with stakeholders and constituents served regionally, statewide, and globally.
  • Responsibility for University Extension and campus-wide integration of international, on-line, and satellite academic programs, including the University of Arizona campus in Sierra Vista.
  • Working with the Vice President for Student Affairs on matters related to student success and support, the learning experience, health and wellness, and the vitality and quality of student life.
  • Fostering and maintaining constructive working relationships with the academic officers of other universities and colleges within Arizona, the Arizona Board of Regents, and external stakeholders, including the state’s business community and government leaders.


The successful candidate shall possess the following qualifications and characteristics:

  • National or international distinction as a scholar, researcher, and educator, with a scholarly and teaching record appropriate for appointment as a full professor at the University of Arizona.
  • A proven record of visionary leadership and achievement in building, enhancing, and sustaining excellent academic programs across a broad array of intellectual domains.
  • An understanding of the academic, organizational, and financial issues facing a large and complex student-centered research university, and the power of innovative thinking necessary to identify emerging opportunities, chart paths to change, and implement successful strategies.
  • A commitment to inclusivity that recognizes the central role that diversity plays in creating quality educational and scholarly environments that promote better learning, innovation, and discovery.
  • A demonstrated record of successful management of academic personnel and the ability to lead – through trust, collaboration, and shared governance – complex resource allocation processes to meet academic and administrative goals.
  • Excellent communication skills, with a demonstrated ability to listen to a variety of constituent groups, synthesize input, articulate a vision, make decisions, and share information broadly to build consensus and support for action.
  • A record of providing leadership that exemplifies integrity, transparency, and accountability.
  • A commitment to expanding the University’s global footprint in the areas of teaching, research, outreach, and technology transfer.
  • A clear understanding and appreciation of the mission, vision, and programs of a land-grant research university.
  • Ability to promote the value of inter- and multi-disciplinary efforts in the curricula and in creative scholarly and research activities.
  • A commitment to respect and preserve the special character of place and environment that defines southern Arizona.
  • Ability to articulate and inspire a shared commitment to the University’s vision for the 21st century, and to identify innovative strategies that will help the institution achieve its mission as the world, and higher education with it, continues to evolve.

Additional Information

For the University of Arizona’s Five-Year Strategic Plan (2013-2017), see:

For the Arizona Board of Regents’ (ABOR) Arizona Higher Education Enterprise Five-Year Strategic Plan (2013-2017), see:

For the Arizona Board of Regents’ (ABOR) 2020 Vision, Long-term Strategic Plan, see:


Located just 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, Tucson is a bustling metropolitan area of nearly one million residents. Set in the lush Sonoran Desert and surrounded by impressive mountains, this unique environment is famous for mild winters, stunning sunsets, and outdoor adventures. The city is bordered on all sides by natural areas, including the Coronado National Forest, Catalina State Park, Ironwood Forest National Monument, and Saguaro National Park (land of the rare, giant saguaro cactus).

Tucson is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the United States. Rich in Native American and Mexican history and enduring influence, it is a natural home for people who do their best work against a backdrop of diverse peoples, beautiful sunsets, majestic mountains, and the ever-present opportunity for solitary reflection in nature – but with easy return to common intellectual endeavors in a research university setting.

TIME magazine recently selected Tucson as one of the nation’s eight “intelligent cities.” Forbes named Tucson “One of America’s Most Innovative Cities.” According to Cond√©Nast Traveler magazine, Tucson is the “Friendliest City in the Nation.” As part of the “Sun Corridor,” Tucson is also one of the fastest-growing regions in the country, with concentrations of business in solar, bioscience, aerospace and defense. In Richard Florida’s new book, “The Creative Class Revisited,” Tucson is named as one of the country’s top 20 creative cities. Outside Magazine ranks Tucson No. 2 in the nation for “Best Towns,” and with more than 800 miles of bike paths, Tucson consistently ranks as one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities. The Wall Street Journal has characterized the Tucson region as a “mini-mecca” for the arts, as it is one of only 14 U.S. cities to host professional opera, symphony orchestra, ballet and theatre companies. As the 34th largest city in the U.S., Tucson offers all the amenities of a big city but the congeniality and ease of living of a big college town. With new investments in the urban core and a modern streetcar that will soon link the UA with downtown Tucson, the city is a dynamic and ever evolving place to live and work.

Application/Nomination Process

Applicants must submit a current curriculum vitae and cover letter. Review of applications will commence immediately and continue until a new Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost is selected. Submission of materials via email is strongly encouraged. Nomination letters should include the contact information of the nominee. All nominations and applications will be handled in strict confidence. Applications and letters of nomination should be submitted to:

Alberto Pimentel, Managing Partner
Will Gates, Partner
1111 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 106
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Fax: 323-260-7889

Electronic submissions are preferred. Please submit to

The University of Arizona is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer dedicated to building a community of excellence, equity, and diversity. The University welcomes applications from women, underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, sexual minority groups and other candidates who will lead and contribute to the diversification and enrichment of ideas and perspectives.

The material presented in this position specification should be relied on for informational purposes only. Some of this material has been copied, compiled, or quoted in part from University of Arizona documents and personal interviews and is believed to be reliable. Naturally, while every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the original source documents and factual situations govern.