February 13, 2017
Dear University of Oregon colleagues and students,
It is my great pleasure to announce that distinguished physicist Jayanth R. Banavar will join the University of Oregon as our next provost and senior vice president. The hiring of Jayanth as the UO’s next chief academic officer is the culmination of a nationwide recruitment that started in August.
Jayanth comes to the UO from the University of Maryland, where he has served as dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences since 2011. He was far and away our first choice out of a talented pool of nationally prominent academic leaders. The search committee, vice presidents, faculty members, and others who met with Jayanth were impressed with his stellar academic credentials, interdisciplinary track record, strategic mindset, creativity, and ability to make tough decisions with a touch of humor and personal warmth. Jayanth will begin his duties here in Eugene in July, and I cannot wait to welcome him to campus.
This is a critical appointment for the UO. The provost is responsible for working with me, the deans, and the faculty to set the academic priorities for campus and for managing the human and capital resources to support those priorities. In the coming years, the provost will lead efforts to continue our recruitment of new faculty members, retain the talented faculty already here, realize our aggressive student success goals, and oversee the implementation of a new academic budget system. The provost is the guardian of our academic excellence, working with faculty and staff members, students, and other stakeholders across campus to ensure that we maintain the highest-possible quality of scholarly activity and educational programs. I am confident that Jayanth has the experience, vision, wisdom, and leadership skills to work collaboratively with constituencies across this campus to deliver on those ambitious expectations.
There are numerous people I would like to thank. The first is our current provost, Scott Coltrane, who last June announced his plans to retire this summer. Scott has served as a valuable counselor and trusted resource throughout this process. We are grateful that he will work closely with Jayanth over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition in the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs.
I also want to thank Geri Richmond, who carved out time from her busy research responsibilities to lead the 17-member provost search committee. The committee, under Geri’s leadership and with the assistance of the search firm Russell Reynolds, did an amazing job of helping me identify, evaluate, and vet an outstanding pool of highly qualified candidates, working on an accelerated timeline with representatives from various stakeholders across campus. I thank each of them for their service and commitment to the UO. I am also grateful to the University Senate leadership and the Faculty Advisory Council for understanding our need to balance a competitive search process with our desire to receive input from appropriate campus constituencies. The culture of trust and partnership we continue to build played a significant role in delivering a successful outcome.
Finally, I want to thank all the members of the UO community for your support through this process and the last 18 months. In that time we have hired three new vice presidents, four deans, and a variety of other campus leaders. In naming Jayanth to the role of provost, we have successfully put in place a foundation of leadership that will guide this campus in our pursuit of excellence and will change the trajectory of our school for decades to come.
A transition e-mail account has been created for Jayanth at email@example.com.
Please join me in welcoming Jayanth and his wife, Suchitra, to the University of Oregon.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law