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Encyclopedia > Provost (education)

Provost is the title of a senior academic administrator at many institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada, the equivalent of Vice-Chancellor at certain UK universites such as UCL, and the head of certain Oxbridge colleges (e.g., Worcester College, Oxford). Even within these different types of appointments, the precise role of a provost varies from institution to institution. An academic administration is a branch of university or college employees responsible for the maintenance and supervision of the institution and separate from the research and teaching faculty. ... The University of Cambridge is an institute of higher learning. ... A Vice-Chancellor (commonly called the VC) of a university in the United Kingdom, other Commonwealth countries, and some universities in Hong Kong, is the de facto head of the university. ... University College London, commonly known as UCL, is one of the colleges that make up the University of London. ... Oxbridge is a portmanteau name for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the two oldest in the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world. ... Worcester College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ...

In most North American research universities and independent colleges, the provost is generally the chief academic officer. The incumbent is responsible to the institution's chief executive officer (variously called president, Chancellor, or rector) and governing board or boards (variously called the board of trustees, the board of regents, or the corporation) for oversight of all educational affairs and activities, including research and academic personnel. The deans of a university's various schools, colleges, or faculties, generally report to the provost or report jointly to the chief executive officer and the provost. Various interdisciplinary units and academic support functions, such as libraries, student services, admissions, academic facilities, and information technology, generally fall within a provost's administrative purview. Finally, provosts often receive staff support or delegate line responsibility for certain administrative functions to one or more subordinates variously called "assistant provost", "associate provost", "vice provost", or "deputy provost". A university is an institution of higher education and of research, which grants academic degrees. ... A college (Latin collegium) can be the name of any group of colleagues; originally it meant a group of people living together under a common set of rules (con-, together + leg-, law). As a consequence members of colleges were originally styled fellow and still are in some places. ... Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ... A Chancellor is the head of a university. ...

The specific duties and areas of responsibility for a provost vary from institution to institution. Invariably, provosts are drawn from the tenured faculty of the institution or from among a pool of professional administrators (with academic credentials) at other institutions. In many, although not all, public and private North American universities and colleges, the provost (or functional equivalent) is the second-ranking officer in the administrative hierarchy. Very often, the provost serves as acting chief executive officer during a vacancy in that office or when the incumbent is absent from campus for prolonged periods. In these institutions, the title of provost is often combined with those of "senior vice president", "executive vice president", "executive vice chancellor", or the like, to denote that officer's high standing.


Other titles and uses

Since the title provost rarely comes into use outside of higher education (but see the ecclesiastical provost), some officers also carry a more descriptive functional title such as "academic vice president", "vice president for academic affairs", or "vice president for education". At many independent liberal arts colleges, the chief academic officer carries the title of provost or "dean of the college". A provost is a senior official in a number of Christian churches. ...

There are other uses of the term provost in American higher education. At some multi-campus (generally state-run) universities, provost may be the title held by the head of branch campus, for example, the provosts of the Newark and Camden campuses of Rutgers University in New Jersey. Sometimes the chief academic or medical officer of a university-affiliated medical center holds the title of provost. In some universities, the chief administrative officer of large academic division may hold a provostial title. Finally, in some colleges and universities, the title of provost (and the function of deputy to the president or chancellor) may be separate from the function of chief academic officer. Rutgers redirects here. ...

"Provost" is still the style of the principals of Queen's, Oriel and Worcester Colleges at Oxford, King's College, Cambridge, and Trinity College, Dublin, and of the chairman of the governors of Eton College. College name The Queens College Collegii Reginae Named after Queen Philippa of Hainault Established 1341 Sister College Pembroke College Provost Sir Alan Budd JCR President Vishal Mashru Undergraduates 304 MCR President Matthias Range Graduates 133 Homepage Boatclub High Street entrance to Queens College from the main quad. ... College name Oriel College Named after Blessed Virgin Mary Established 1324 Sister College Clare College, Cambridge Trinity College, Dublin Provost Sir Derek Morris JCR President Frank Hardee Undergraduates 304 Graduates 158 Homepage Boatclub Oriel College (in full: The House of Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford commonly called Oriel College... Worcester College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. ... Full name The Kings College of Our Lady and St Nicholas in Cambridge Motto Veritas Et Utilitas Truth and usefulness Named after Henry VI Previous names - Established 1441 Sister College(s) New College Provost Prof. ... Trinity College, Dublin, corporately designated as the Provost, Fellows and Scholars of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, and is the only constituent college of the University of Dublin, Irelands oldest university. ... The Provost is the chairman of the Governing Body of Eton College. ... The Kings College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor, commonly known as Eton College or just Eton, is a prestigious and internationally known Public School for boys. ...


The first use of the title provost in American and Canadian higher education is unclear. At the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, the title provost dates to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, respectively. At the University of Pennsylvania, the administrative head of the university was titled provost until the 1930s, when the Board of Trustees created a separate office of president and redesignated the provost as chief academic officer and subordinate to the new presidency. At Columbia University, the Board of Trustees established the office of provost in 1811, only to abolish it five years later. The Trustees and the president of the university reestablished the office of provost in 1912. Although the precise title of the office has changed over time, the responsibility as Columbia's chief academic officer has remained constant. The University of Pennsylvania (or Penn[3][4]) is a private, nonsectarian research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ... Columbia University is a private university whose main campus lies in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of the Borough of Manhattan in New York City. ... 1811 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...

Other North American universities and colleges created provostships during and after World War II when dramatic increases in undergraduate enrollments (due to the GI Bill) and the increased complexity of higher education administration, led many chief executive officers to adopt a more corporate governing structure. By the 1960s, most of the other Ivy League institutions (Yale, Princeton, Cornell, and Brown) had provosts (or equivalents), as did other private research universities such as the University of Chicago, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, and Duke University. Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Nazi Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Harry Truman Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead... The G. I. Bill of Rights or Servicemens Readjustment Act of 1944 provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans as well as one-year of unemployment compensation. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... The Ivy League is an athletic conference comprising eight private institutions of higher education located in the Northeastern United States. ... Yale redirects here. ... Princeton University is a coeducational private university located in Princeton, New Jersey in the United States of America. ... Cornell redirects here. ... Brown University is a private university located in Providence, Rhode Island. ... The University of Chicago will crush your soul. ... Stanford redirects here. ... The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. MIT is organized into five schools and one college, containing 34 academic departments and 53 interdisciplinary laboratories, centers and programs. ... Georgetown University, formally the The President and Directors of Georgetown University, is a private university in the United States, located in Georgetown, a historic neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded on January 23, 1789 by Archbishop John Carroll, it is both the oldest Roman Catholic and oldest Jesuit university in... Duke University is a private coeducational research university located in Durham, North Carolina, US. The school, which officially became Duke University in 1924, traces its institutional roots to 1838. ...

At Harvard University, the office of provost has had two distinct incarnations. The office's first incarnation was during World War II and the immediate postwar era. James Bryant Conant, the president of the university from 1933 to 1953, asked the Harvard Corporation (the more senior of the two governing boards) to create the office of provost in October 1945, at time when he (Conant) spent a great deal of time in Washington, D.C. as chairman of the National Defense Research Committee. Conant appointed historian Paul Buck, the dean of the Faculty of Arts of Sciences (FAS), to concurrently serve as provost. (The original legislation required that the provost be concurrently dean of FAS.) As provost and dean, Buck had oversight of FAS (which includes Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Extension School, the Summer School, and what is now called the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences) and its affiliated laboratories, research centers, and museums. However, he had no authority over Harvard's professional schools (at that time, the Divinity School, the Law School, the Faculty of Medicine, the School of Public Health, and the Graduate Schools of Business Administration, Design, Education, and Public Administration). The provost's office was eliminated when Conant retired from Harvard's presidency in 1953. During the presidencies of Nathan Marsh Pusey (1953–1971) and Derek C. Bok (1971–1993), the deans of Harvard's nine faculties reported directly to the president, with the dean of FAS being primus inter pares. The second incarnation began in 1993, when then-Harvard President Neil Rudenstine asked the Corporation to recreate the provostship as a second university-wide academic officer other than the president. A section of Harvard's 1997 Re-accreditation Report for the New England Commission of Colleges and Schools reads: Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... James Bryant Conant (March 26, 1893 - February 11, 1978) was a chemist, educational administrator, and public servant. ... In June of 1940, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) to coordinate, supervise, and conduct scientific research on the problems underlying the development, production, and use of mechanisms and devices of warfare. ... Nathan Marsh Pusey (4 April 1907–14 November 2001) was a prominent American educator. ...

The Provost at Harvard acts as an extension of the President. He is the second academic officer, after the President, having purview of the entire University. The Provost has special responsibility for fostering intellectual interactions across the University, including the five Interfaculty Initiatives (environment, ethics and the professions, schooling and children, mind/brain/behavior, and health policy). The Provost also acts to help improve the quality and efficiency of central services organized at Harvard under the aegis of the Vice Presidents.

See also

The word trustee is a legal term that refers to a holder of property on behalf of some other beneficiary. ... Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (1861-1865) The majority of this article is about heads of states. ... A vice president is an officer in government or business who is next in rank below a president. ... A Chancellor is the head of a university. ... The Principal is the chief executive and the chief academic officer of a University in Scotland and at certains institutions in Canada and other parts of the Commonwealth. ... In an educational setting, a dean is a person with significant authority . ... The term college (Latin collegium) is most often used today to denote an educational institution. ... A faculty is a division within a university. ... A professor giving a lecture The meaning of the word professor (Latin: one who claims publicly to be an expert) varies. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... In education, a curriculum (plural curricula) is the set of courses and their contents offered by an institution such as a school or university. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


  • Freeland, Richard M. (1992). Academia's Golden Age: Universities in Massachusetts, 1945–1970. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Keller, Morton & Keller, Phyllis (2001). Making Harvard Modern: The Rise of America's University. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Lloyd, Mark. "A History of Penn Provosts". Penn Archives and Record Center. http://www.upenn.edu/provost/history_provost.html

  Results from FactBites:
Provost (education) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1135 words)
Provost is the title of a senior academic administrator at many institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada, the equivalent of Vice-Chancellor at certain UK universites such as UCL, and the head of certain Oxbridge colleges (e.g., Worcester College, Oxford).
At some multi-campus (generally state-run) universities, provost may be the title held by the head of branch campus, for example, the provosts of the Newark and Camden campuses of Rutgers University in New Jersey.
"Provost" is still the style of the principals of Queen's, Oriel and Worcester Colleges at Oxford, King's College, Cambridge, and Trinity College, Dublin, and of the chairman of the governors of Eton College.
Provost - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (169 words)
Provost (civil), an officer of local government, including the equivalent of a mayor in Scotland.
Lord Provost, the equivalent of a Lord Mayor in Scotland.
Provost sergeant, a sergeant in charge of regimental police in the British and Commonwealth armies.
  More results at FactBites »



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