Messages & Updates | University of Portland

Messages & Updates

On Friday, February 3, President Kelly sent the following message to all University of Portland students, staff, and faculty. The original message, as received by community members, included Zoom links for all listening sessions. Please contact with any questions.

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

I write today to provide an update on the search for the University of Portland’s next Provost.

Our efforts to attract a qualified and diverse collection of applicants, and to appoint our next Provost, are of great importance to the University. UP is a place with an extraordinary academic mission, and finding the next great leader to advance this mission is a critical undertaking. As I noted in my opening message from the beginning of the semester, I have every confidence that we will be successful in these efforts.

I recently appointed a Provost Search Committee to help lead our search efforts. The Committee includes faculty, staff, Regents, and a student, and I am grateful to the Academic Senate, the Staff Senate, and ASUP for consulting with me on the appointment of Committee members. The Committee’s composition is listed at the conclusion of this message and on our Provost Search website. We have already met once as a group, and I am grateful to these community leaders for their commitment to this process.

Our Committee has partnered with WittKieffer, a global leader in academic leadership search, on this important work. Our team from WittKieffer includes Amy Crutchfield, Melody Rose, and Meredith Davis, three remarkable leaders with deep experience in higher education and executive search. I thank Amy, Melody, and Meredith for their expertise, guidance, and support.

Among the very first steps in our search process will be generation of a Leadership Profile. This Profile will be used to advertise the position and recruit candidates. In order for the Profile to communicate the qualities and attributes we are seeking in our next Provost, your participation is vital. We desire to hear from you—students, staff, and faculty—about your vision for UP and your views on how our next Provost can help to accomplish that vision. Your perspectives will aid in the generation of our Leadership Profile, and will assist our search partners as they work to recruit candidates.

Community members are welcome to provide their feedback via three methods.

First, you may submit feedback electronically (and anonymously) using this online form.

Second, you may submit your views via email to

Third, you may participate in a Zoom-based listening session with our partners from WittKieffer. Information on these listening sessions may be found below, and will also be available on the Provost Search website. It is important that we begin to recruit candidates in short order. Thus, the listening sessions will take place next week or early during the week that follows. Thank you in advance for your understanding and participation.

Students: Thursday, February 9, from 9 AM to 10 AM via this Zoom link.
Faculty & Staff (Session 1): Friday, February 10, from 11 AM to 12 PM via this Zoom link.
Faculty & Staff (Session 2): Monday, February 13, from 9 AM to 10 AM via this Zoom link.

Our partners from WittKieffer will also engage in listening sessions with other UP constituencies, including the Academic Senate Executive Committee, the National Alumni Board, and the Board of Regents. Personally, and on behalf of the Search Committee, I thank you in advance for your expertise and insights. Your views are deeply appreciated and will greatly enhance our efforts to recruit UP’s next Provost.

Once a Leadership Profile has been prepared, candidates will be recruited for first-round interviews with the Provost Search Committee. Our hope is that finalists for the position will participate in the finalist interview process in late April, prior to Commencement.

As our process continues, I will offer additional community updates. Between now and then, however, know of my continued gratitude for your involvement in this search process and for all the ways that you lead and serve our beloved institution on The Bluff.


Robert D. Kelly, PhD, President

Provost Search Committee Members

Rob Kelly (Committee Chair), President
Nancy Bryant, Regent
Janice Burger, Regent
Mike DeVaughn, Dean of the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr. School of Business
Jon Down, Associate Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Shaun Ekhause, Programmer Analyst in Information Services
Christi Hancock, Professor of History & Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies
Rachel Hutcheson, Associate Professor & Chair of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Andrew Lafrenz, Associate Professor & IHW Program Director in the School of Nursing & Health Innovations
Dana Lopez, Vice President for Human Resources
Megan Meckey, Vice President of the Associated Students of the University of Portland
Father Ed Obermiller, C.S.C., Special Assistant to the Vice President for University Relations
Rebecca Smith, Assistant Professor in the School of Education
Shaz Vijlee, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Associate Professor in the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering
Philip Vue, Digital Services Librarian
Evan Leadem (Staff Support), President’s Office