USC announces interim provost

Executive Vice Provost Elizabeth Graddy will become interim provost effective July 1. Graddy previously served USC as vice provost of Academic and Faculty Affairs, and was also the vice dean of the Price School of Public Policy. (Photo from USC Press Room)


Executive Vice Provost Elizabeth Graddy will serve as interim provost starting July 1 as the University begins its search for a new provost, Interim President Wanda Austin announced in a memo to the USC community Tuesday.

Graddy will step into the position following Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Quick’s departure June 30. Quick announced his resignation in early April.

Graddy currently oversees the offices of faculty affairs, academic affairs, undergraduate programs and the graduate school. She previously served as vice provost of academic and faculty affairs.

“Dr. Graddy cares deeply about the University’s mission and core values, and brings a well-considered and aspirational perspective to every discussion,” Austin wrote. “She is also passionate about diversity and inclusion, and understands their importance in building trust among our community and in achieving our goals for academic excellence.”

In its search for a new provost, the University has formed a committee comprising 17 faculty, staff and student leaders throughout campus, according to the memo. Professor Mark Humayun will chair the committee, which will report directly to President-elect Carol Folt, the memo said.

During the presidential search process, the University held several listening sessions for members of the USC community to voice their concerns and articulate the qualities they wanted the new president to embody. The findings from these listening sessions will be used to guide the search for a new provost as well, Austin wrote.

“The goals articulated by these diverse voices guide our work today, and we will select a provost whose values and vision align closely with the broader ambitions of our community,” Austin wrote.

Student leaders in Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Government criticized the University for not including students in the Presidential Search Committee. The search committee for the provost now includes the presidents of both USG and GSG as well as staff members from the University.

“Taken together, this group represents a breadth of backgrounds, views, and experience at the University, and the chair will work closely with each member of the search committee throughout the process,” Austin wrote.

USC has hired search firm Isaacson, Miller — the same firm it partnered with for the presidential search process — to assist in finding the new provost.

University leaders will also discuss the provost search process and candidates with campus members outside of the committee, including USG, GSG, the executive board of the Academic Senate, deans, the academic department chairs of the Keck School of Medicine and professors, according to the memo. The University hopes to decide on a candidate by the end of summer, Austin wrote.

“The provost is the second-ranking officer under the president, the chief academic officer, and plays a critical role in all of the University’s operations,” Austin wrote. “To realize the dreams we all share for USC, we will need to get this appointment absolutely right.”