Three finalists chosen for University of Kentucky provost

lblackford@herald-leader.comApril 16, 2013 

The University of Kentucky announced three finalists Tuesday for provost, all of whom will make campus visits next week.

The finalists are: Jose Luis Bermudez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University; Nancy W. Brickhouse, interim provost at the University of Delaware; and Christine Riordan, dean of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver.

"We have three outstanding candidates for this most important position, candidates who represent varied and diverse academic backgrounds and perspectives, but who share a common background of excellence in both their academic and administrative pursuits," said Mike Reid and Charley Carlson, co-chairs of the Provost Search Committee.

Committee members have said diversity was a priority in their search. Currently, nine of President Eli Capilouto's 11 cabinet members are white men.

Former Provost Kumble Subbaswamy left last year to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Subbaswamy, a native of India, was widely praised as a chief academic officer, including his emphasis on improving diversity.

An open campus forum with Bermudez will be held from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, tentatively in Room 118 of White Hall Classroom Building. Brickhouse will be at a forum on Wednesday, April 24, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., also in Room 118 of White Hall Classroom Building. Riordan will be at a forum from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday April 25, tentatively in Room 102 of White Hall Classroom Building.

Officials said Capilouto hopes to make a decision on the provost position before the May 14 UK Board of Trustees meeting.

Bermudez has been a dean at the 50,000-student Texas A&M since 2010. Before that, he worked at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was director of the Center for Programs in Arts and Sciences and Director of the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program.

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Bermudez earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from King's College at the University of Cambridge before joining the faculty at the University of Stirling in Scotland.

Brickhouse has spent her entire academic career at the University of Delaware. She was promoted to full professor of education in 1998, and then proceeded through a series of administrative appointments, including director of the School of Education, deputy dean and interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and deputy provost.

Brickhouse holds a B.A. in chemistry from Baylor University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Riordan became dean of the Daniels College of Business in 2008. From 2005 to 2008, she was the associate dean for external relations at the Neely School of Business at Texas Christian University. She earned a bachelor's degree in material sciences engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master's and Ph.D. in business from Georgia State University.

More information on the candidates' backgrounds and resumes can be found at uky.edu/Provostsearch.

"All three of them are outstanding candidates," said Lee Blonder, a member of the selection committee and chairwoman of the University Senate Council. "They each have wonderful experiences, they have different backgrounds, they represent different types of schools, and they all have excellent track records of scholarly achievement. We also have excellent representations of diversity."

In addition to the forums, each candidate will visit with groups of students, staff, faculty, deans and other administrators.

More information will be provided about the open forums and their format in coming days, but the bulk of the forums will be questions from the audiences, whether in person or by email.

Carlson and Reid urged the UK community to attend the forums, which will be streamed live online.

"We will over the next couple of weeks continue to gather feedback from all interested at this special email address, provost.search@uky.edu," the co-chairs said in a campus-wide email Tuesday evening. "The input we gather will be summarized and shared with President Capilouto as part of his decision.

"It is, without question, an important moment in the life of our institution."

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