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Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | Last updated: 9:03pm

Andrew Comrie seeks UA provost position



Andrew Comrie, the first of three candidates being interviewed for the position of UA provost, discussed his views for the future of the UA at a public forum on Tuesday at the Student Union Memorial Center.

John Paul Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and chair of the Provost Search Advisory Committee, said initially there were over 800 people that were either nominated, or invited to apply for the position of provost by UA.

Jones said that of those 800 plus possible candidates, there were 74 that showed interest in the position and 10 individuals were invited for airport interviews in December 2012. Four of the 10 candidates were then offered the opportunity to come to UA and speak. One individual declined the offer.

The final decision is expected to be made approximately two weeks after the final candidate’s interview, said Jones.

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By Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Andrew Comrie, a candidate for UA's provost position, addresses members of the community during a public forum on Jan. 8 in the Student Union Memorial Center.

Comrie, who has worked at UA his entire professional career, opened by saying that the UA is a “great institution” that still has “unrealized potential.” He went on to say that the UA is ahead when it comes to being an interdisciplinary institution and that we need it to stay that way.

Comrie is currently vice president for academic affairs and interim provost.

The UA has challenges, according to Comrie, such as a decrease in funds from the state. However, these challenges are not something other similar institutions are not experiencing.

“We don’t have, I would say, our own particular Achilles heel, in terms of a weakness,” said Comrie.

Comrie, who is involved with the UA’s strategic plan, said he wants to make decisions and choices that will bring the UA to the next level in the future. He said he wants UA to be known as an institution where students get an “engagement experience” to go along with their education, meaning that everyone gets real world experience whether it’s through research or internships.

“We sometimes talk about the journalism program in SBS [College of Social and Behavioral Sciences] for example where 100 percent of those students get a practical experience that helps them integrate what they do, and we said ‘Why don’t we just do this for 100 percent of our students?’” said Comrie.

Comrie said, he is “consultative” on making big decisions.

“Any of the big decisions that I have had to make I have engaged a whole bunch of folks and not done that solo, so that I, frankly, we, made a smart decision and if we made a wrong decision it was one we made as a large group not something me marching to my own drummer made,” said Comrie.

Tom Buchanan, director of development for the UA’s Institute for LGBT Studies, said he is excited for Comrie to be one of the final candidates.

“It is just good to see someone who knows this university as well as he does, someone with a good head good heart who is one of the finalist candidates, it is just great to see,” said Tom Buchanan the Director of Development for the UA Institute for LGBT Studies.

Future public forums for provost candidates

Where: Rincon Room, SUMC

Henry Foley, vice president for research and dean of the graduate school, Pennsylvania State University
Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m.

Jack H. Knott, dean of Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC
Jan. 17 at 9:30 a.m.


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