Two University of Kentucky deans are the finalists for the school's top academic post.
Tim Tracy, dean of the College of Pharmacy, and David Blackwell, dean of the College of Business, will hold public forums this week as they vie for the job of provost.
UK President Eli Capilouto decided to look internally for the next provost after Christine Riordan left in December to become president of Adelphi University this year.
"The search committee and I arrived at this decision because both Dean Blackwell and Dean Tracy already are significant leaders on our campus, with strong academic and research backgrounds," Capilouto wrote in a campus-wide email Monday afternoon. "Both lead thriving colleges that have demonstrated a capacity to adapt in a changing higher education environment. And both have been willing to take on challenging assignments beyond their colleges in service to the entire campus."
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Capilouto said both finalists would meet with various campus groups this week in addition to attending two public forums. On Thursday, Blackwell will appear from 3 to 4 p.m. and Tracy from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Great Hall of M.I. King Library. On Friday, the forums will be in the auditorium at UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A.
The finalists have been asked to speak about their backgrounds; their leadership; how they will increase student success, graduate education and research; and how to create a more inclusive and equitable campus. They also will take written questions from the audiences.
UK spokesman Jay Blanton said Capilouto intended to make a decision soon after the forums.
Capilouto has said he decided to keep the search internal because of the importance of finding someone quickly amid major initiatives at UK, such as a new strategic plan, improving student retention and graduation rates, and expanding research.
Riordan was the first woman to serve as provost at UK and was one of the few women among the mostly white men who report directly to Capilouto, but her tenure lasted less than 18 months. She is staying at UK as a special projects director until she takes over at Adelphi on July 1.
Of the 11 people who now report directly to Capilouto, two are women and one is a black man. Blanton pointed out that the last three "most significant hires" on campus have been women: interim vice president for research Lisa Cassis; vice president for facilities Mary Vosevich; and Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, who serves as co-chairwoman of the provost search committee. Cassis is one of the women who reports directly to the president.
"President Capilouto is the first to acknowledge that we have much more work to do," Blanton said. "And he is committed in the near future to outlining more specific proposals and plans for continuing to diversify campus at all levels."
Tracy, 54, served as interim provost from 2012 until Riordan's arrival in 2013. He worked at West Virginia University and the University of Minnesota before coming to UK in 2010.
He was previously the principal investigator on two grants supported by the National Institutes of Health and co-investigator on a third project with total funding of more than $2.7 million. His area of research is drug metabolism and disposition.
Blackwell, 56, was associate dean at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School before coming to UK in 2012. Previously, he worked in the private sector as a director in KPMG's forensic accounting practice and in Pricewaterhouse Coopers' financial advisory services practice.
Blackwell also taught finance at Emory University and the universities of Georgia, Houston and Rochester. He recently headed a successful fundraising campaign to raise half the money needed for an ongoing $65 million renovation of the business school.