Alexander Brown/The Hoya Provost Robert Groves explained the effects his decision to reorganize his office will have on the university and faculty.
Alexander Brown/The Hoya
Provost Robert Groves explained the effects his decision to reorganize his office will have on the university and faculty.

According to Provost Robert Groves, the forthcoming shift in his office’s organization, which will create four new administrative positions, represents an alignment with the policies of several other universities across the country.

The reorganization, which was announced in an email to Georgetown students Wednesday afternoon, will create four new positions: vice provost for faculty, vice provost for education, vice provost for research and vice president for finance and program analytics. In tandem with these changes to his own office, Groves has also chosen current Vice President and Chief Finance Officer Darryl Christmon as chief operating officer for the main campus, a newly created role Christmon will begin this July, joining university-wide COO Chris Augostini.

“This is our way of becoming a better university through more vibrant research, more relevant educational programs and the best faculty we can recruit,” Groves said. “I believed that if we had provost-level attention to these things, we could make [them] better.”

According to Groves, vice provost positions are common among universities and Georgetown is relatively unusual in its lack of such a structure. Vice provosts will be current faculty members who will devote 75 percent of their time to their new positions while continuing to research and teach.

“I want to make sure the provost’s office makes decisions that are integrated with the perspective of faculty and that, over time, we have more faculty who understand administrative issues at the university,” Groves said.

Grovessaid that the vice provost positions’ three-year term limit was motivated by his desire to maintain communication with both students and faculty.

“I want a variety of faculty members in the positions over time and I want to maintain our devotion to teaching,” Groves said.

The vice provost for research position will focus on enhancing research opportunities and resources for all members of the university community.

“We want to increase the volume of research for graduates, undergraduates and faculty,” Groves said. “That, in my opinion, requires more of an emphasis on constructing an environment where that can happen.”

The vice provost for education, meanwhile, will improve communication between departments, schools and campuses, emphasizing integration of undergraduate and graduate programs and expanded interdisciplinary programs.

This same cooperative attitude will be applied to the vice provost for faculty position, which is intended to create an environment and hiring system in which faculty can easily work across schools to stimulate interdisciplinary research.

“We want to continue to have a world-class faculty; we believe that one way to do that is to create an environment where joint appointments of faculty across different units are supported,” Groves said.

An advisory committee including students and faculty members will develop a list of candidates for these three vice provost positions and suggest professors for the positions as soon as they identify qualified candidates. Groves said he expects the three positions to be filled by summer or early fall.

The vice president for finance and program analytics will be responsible for database management and improving efficiency. Potential projects include collecting data about students, departments and programs to analyze efficiency based on revenue and the costs of specific programs.

Grovessaid that he would consider hiring the financial and analytical expert from outside the university, employing an outside firm to identify suitable candidates. Georgetown has used executive search firm Witt/Kieffer in past searches, but Groves did not specify which firm would be employed for this search.

Grovesemphasized the long-term effects of these institutional changes.

“Many of the changes that we want to make will take years before their value will be known. These are big things we are doing, but I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t believe that this was the direction we should move.”

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