The University of Memphis seeks an innovative academic leader to serve as its next Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

The University of Memphis

The University of Memphis (UofM) is a leading, student-centered, urban public research institution. Located in Memphis, Tennessee, the University serves a population of more than 21,000 students and 4,400 employees including 1,031 full-time faculty; offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 250 areas of study, master’s degrees in 54 subjects, and doctoral degrees in 26 disciplines; supports $55 million in research funding; and has an operating budget of $500 million.

Core values at the University of Memphis include student success and access, as well as diversity and inclusion. Our campus is a joyful and welcoming place with students from different backgrounds — each contributing something special to campus. 50% of our undergrads identify as people of color and 33% of UofM students are the first in their family to attend college. More than 90% of our full-time freshmen receive financial aid, and once enrolled, are supported through ACCESS MEMPHIS programs, dedicated to helping keep them in school and meeting educational goals. In addition, more than 50% of first-time freshmen are eligible for Pell grants.

UofM is one of two flagship public universities in Tennessee. From record-breaking fundraising and enrollment to all-time-high retention and graduation rates to rising national rankings and research excellence — progress at the UofM can’t be denied. Located in the heart of culture-rich Memphis, the University of Memphis is experiencing enormous growth and development — a huge transformation since our founding in 1912.

The UofM is ranked among the world’s top universities in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, only one of three to make the list from the State of Tennessee. We’re currently the second-largest university in Tennessee and proud to have the largest enrollment percentage increase from fall 2019 to fall 2020 among locally governed institutions in the state.

The University's main campus is located on 1,160 acres in the heart of Memphis. The University also holds classes throughout Tennessee at satellite locations in Millington. The University of Memphis is governed by its own independent Board of Trustees.

In August 2011 the University of Memphis also began offering classes at the Lambuth campus in Jackson, TN. The former private university was forced to cease independent operation in May 2011 due to dwindling fiscal resources. Recognizing the important role the school had played in higher education in West Tennessee, civic leaders and government officials worked to maintain the Lambuth campus as a part of the University of Memphis. In January 2012, the UofM flag was raised and the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus officially came into existence.

The University of Memphis President

Dr. Bill Hardgrave began serving as the 13th President of the University of Memphis on April 1, 2022. Prior to joining the University of Memphis, Hardgrave served four years as Auburn University’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and eight years as dean of Auburn’s Harbert College of Business. He also spent 17 years at the University of Arkansas in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, eventually holding the Edwin & Karlee Bradberry Chair in Information Systems.  While there, he founded and ran the Information Technology Research Institute and the RFID Research Center.  Hardgrave is an accomplished scholar—having published several books and more than 100 articles—and is considered a thought leader in the field of RFID. He has worked with numerous companies, including Walmart, Amazon, Macy’s, Nike, Intel, and Microsoft, among others, and is a highly sought-after speaker—delivering more than 200 invited talks across the globe, to a total audience in excess of 30,000.  In recognition of his efforts in RFID, Hardgrave has received the Ted Williams Award from AIM Global as the most influential researcher in the field of RFID and the Special Achievement award from RFID Journal for his overall impact on the field.

Job Responsibilities

Serving as the Chief Academic Officer of the University, the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost (Provost) reports to the University President and is responsible for overseeing the entirety of undergraduate and graduate education in all colleges, schools, and the library system. The Provost is responsible for delivery of instruction, research, and scholarly activities on all sites where academic personnel operate. This office maintains broad discretionary authority to implement, review, and evaluate academic programming and to devise means and resources for their achievement.

Additional duties of the Provost include:

  • Enhancing the University's intellectual climate, strengthening instruction and scholarship, fostering curricular innovation and globalization, building and expanding academic programs defined by excellence, enhancing the use of technology, recruiting and mentoring faculty, and fostering an environment where the University engages actively in service and embraces cultural diversity.
  • Serving as the chief academic officer and provides leadership, direction, policy formulation, and oversight to the Division of Academic Affairs which includes all academic areas and academic functions of the University, including faculty, academic programs and academic support offices, and activities of all the undergraduate and graduate colleges, schools and the libraries.
  • Aligning new academic programs and non-credit bearing training to meet local workforce needs.
  • In conjunction with the CFO, overseeing the budget for the Division of Academic Affairs in accordance with University directives, including acquiring and stewarding resources for teaching, research and services.
  • Providing executive leadership for enrollment management services, including admissions functions, articulation and transfer agreements, advising, recruitment, retention, and graduation rates.
  • Representing the University at the Academic Council, appropriate committees of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, national professional organizations, alumni and local constituent groups.
  • Representing the University and the President in internal and external meetings, as well as functions and community outreach events, as necessary.
  • Monitoring the Helen Hardin Honors Program, Athletic Academic Advising and other scholarship and aid programs and functions to meet applicable state, federal, foundation and donor guidelines.
  • Working with the President and Vice Presidents of all divisions to lead the University and execute the strategic plan and performance funding and directives of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (and Tennessee Board of Regents, as appropriate).
  • Communicating relevant University business to members of the Board of Trustees.
  • Leading efforts such as the Strategic Resource Investment (SRI), strategic planning, institutional effectiveness initiatives, and other initiatives as deemed necessary.
  • Performing other duties as assigned by the President.

Preferred Qualifications

The successful candidate for the position of Provost must possess an earned terminal degree and experience as a tenured full professor, including a record of distinction in teaching and research or creative activity.

In addition, it is preferred that the Provost has the following qualifications:

  • A successful record of academic administration at institutions with graduate research programs, preferably at the Carnegie R1 level.
  • Experience in faculty recruitment, retention, promotion, and tenure decisions.
  • Experience in financial and budgetary management.
  • A commitment to and knowledge of online programs, alternative scheduling, and planning to meet undergraduate, graduate, and online students’ needs.
  • A commitment to shared governance and strong working relationships with faculty
  • Commitment to academic excellence, innovation, entrepreneurship and engaged community scholarship.
  • Skilled at collaborative, team-based problem-solving.

Application Process

The UofM invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, complete CV, and references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to January 1, 2023: 

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Jacob C. Anderson, Senior Principal
Parker Executive Search Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875 Atlanta, GA 30328 pwilliams@parkersearch.com || janderson@parkersearch.com
Phone: (770) 804-1996 x 109 or 111

Equal Employment & Institutional Equity

The University of Memphis does not discriminate against students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs and activities sponsored by the University of Memphis.

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