Garrett to serve as temporary provost during national search
Posted August 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm in News
While President C.L. Max Nikias searches across the country for his permanent replacement as provost, he only needed to look across the hall for a temporary one.
This school year, all vice provosts, academic deans and the heads of many university departments will report to Elizabeth Garrett, who will act as interim provost.
Garrett worked side by side with Nikias when he organized a small advisory committee after he was appointed provost five years ago. She served as second-in-command as the vice provost for Academic Affairs.
Garrett also serves as the chief executive officer of USC Hospitals and will supervise a variety of other organizations, such as the Division of Student Affairs.
âI donât think this [search] period means weâre not going to get things done,â Garrett said. âItâs important we not look at any period in our universityâs life as one of stasis.â
Garrett, who received her J.D. from the University of Virginia, was a clerk for former Justice Thurgood Marshall on the U.S. Supreme Court. She believes her law background will be helpful when implementing academic policy at USC.
âWe want to ensure students graduate on time and have the financial aid needed to attend this school,â she said.
Another one of Garrettâs main goals is emphasizing interdisciplinary learning. Last year, Garrett helped initiate the Academic Achievement Award, an award implemented this semester which enables students to take more units for the standard tuition rate if they study two different fields.
During her time as provost, Garrett plans to increase the universityâs international focus, targeting places such as South America and Asia. A new position, the provost of global initiatives, was created to spearhead this effort. An office in Mumbai recently opened and a global health major was also introduced.
âUniversities are the best places in the world,â Garrett said. âThere are people with diverse backgrounds and interests and they come together to try to create new knowledge and train the next generation of leaders.â
Garrett said she believes the new administration wonât differ much from those prior, but it will be better because it can learn from those before it.
âJust because youâre excellent doesnât mean you canât continue to pursue excellence,â she said.
Nikias said he hopes to announce the permanent provost by late November or early December, but Garrett will assume full responsibilities until then.
âThe committee and I are looking for a strong academic record along with strong academic values,â Nikias said. âIt requires excellent leadership qualities.â
In the meantime, Garrett said she is looking forward to her new responsibilities.
âItâs a neat job because you really get to focus on lots of different things simultaneously,â Garrett said. âItâs making connections for people.â