University of Rhode Island — Provost

The University of Rhode Island, the essential land, sea, and urban, public research university for the State of Rhode Island, and an institution on a remarkable trajectory to the next tier of excellence, seeks its next provost. 

URI enrolls over 17,600 students, including over 14,000 undergraduates, 2,700 graduate students, and 1,200 certificate or non-degree seeking students across its nine colleges and schools. The university offers 97 undergraduate majors and confers masters degrees in 66 programs. The University has become essential to the state in the last decade, improving in every metric, including scholarship, research intensity, student success, finances, and public regard. Drawn by an increasingly rich student experience and competitive pricing, students increasingly seek a URI education, with over twenty-five thousand students applying in 2021, up 22 percent in the last decade. Half of all URI students come from Rhode Island with the remaining 50 percent from out of state and from 61 countries. Over the last decade, URI has seen a 40 percent growth in the number of undergraduate degrees awarded each year, a combination of enrollment growth and retention improvement. The provost will act as a champion for the university’s enrollment strategy, providing critical leadership in sustaining this growth while continuing to build narrowly defined, but flexible, programming.

URI has 1,148 faculty members, 70 percent of which are full-time, with more than half of the full-time faculty hired in the last ten years. The University has recruited an increasingly strong faculty, maximizing its investment dollars and increasing external awards from $65 million in 2010 to $123 million in 2021, with approximately 80 percent federal, which is a substantial figure for a research university without a medical school. Scholarly activity in the arts and humanities has paralleled science and engineering with publications and citations having improved steadily across the entire faculty. The provost will need to invest regularly in the faculty through competitive startup packages and salaries to continue to achieve the university’s ambitious research goals in addition to becoming a nationally recognized and highly distinguished research university.  

URI has been a responsible steward of its finances, driving tuition revenue amid a competitive enrollment landscape, responsibly using revenue bonds and philanthropic gifts to help finance capital projects, and building up its cash reserves. In fall 2020, the URI Foundation and Alumni Engagement, a newly merged entity, launched its most ambitious capital campaign to date, a $250-million effort that has raised over $227 million as of Spring 2022. In an act of abiding public trust, the legislature and the governor created and passed a reorganization of the University’s governance, which creates an independent seventeen-member board of trustees, a combination of self-perpetuating trustees and public appointments. The University has become the trusted and essential partner of the state and the public. The next provost will leverage this increased confidence in URI by facilitating new partnerships that provide resources and support to the University while aiding the state’s economic, social, and cultural fabric. 

URI seeks a  provost who can responsibly harness and build upon the university’s successes in the last decade. This effort will be achieved under the provost’s leadership by sustaining and building upon the university’s strengths in academic programming and investments made in student success and student experience; empowering senior leadership to engage in innovative and collaborative revenue generation for program development and shaping the landscape for careful investments made in the development and support of its faculty in the university’s binate mission of research and teaching. The provost will align these efforts with the University’s broader goal of expanding its profile as a distinguished flagship and achieving the designation of a research-intensive (R1) university. 

The University of Rhode Island seeks a scholarly leader with intellectual vision, a collegial and collaborative leadership style, and the energy and integrity to inspire the diverse university community to new levels of excellence.  Candidates should have a history of academic leadership, the ability to build and cultivate consensus among various stakeholder groups, accomplishment in creating and supporting a climate of understanding and mutual respect, and a deep and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.

URI has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist with this search. All applications, inquiries, and nominations will remain confidential and should be directed to the search firm, as indicated at the end of this document.

John Isaacson, Chair
Damla Williams, Associate
Isaacson, Miller

Electronic submission is strongly encouraged.

It is the policy of the University of Rhode Island not to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, citizenship status, genetic information, marital status, AIDS/HIV and domestic abuse victim, homelessness or discriminate against disabled and Vietnam era veterans in the recruitment, admission or treatment of students, the recruitment, hiring or treatment of faculty and staff, and in the operation of its activities and programs, as specified by State and Federal Laws, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments to the Higher Education Act, Executive Order 11246, as amended, New Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as Amended, Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and all other laws which pertain to access and equity.

The University of Rhode Island is committed to the principles of Affirmative Action and the attainment of Equal Employment and Equal Educational opportunities for all qualified individuals. The Director of Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity has been designated by the President as the person who shall have overall responsibility for the implementation and maintenance of such programs. For further information, please contact the Affirmative Action Office at (401) 874-2442.