President's Message - Vincent Edward Price Named 29th Penn Provost - May 2009

May 28, 2009

Dear Members of the Penn Community:

I am delighted to announce my selection of Vincent Edward Price to be the 29th Provost of the University of Pennsylvania.  Currently Interim Provost and the Steven H. Chaffee Term Professor of Communication in Penn's Annenberg School for Communication, with a secondary appointment as Professor of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences, Vince is an eminent scholar, a seasoned academic administrator, and an exceptionally judicious and effective academic leader with a passion for academic excellence, access, and diversity, interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, effective collaboration, deliberative problem-solving, and inclusive team-building.  He will be a superb partner with Penn's deans, faculty, staff, students, and me in leading the University in the years ahead and advancing the Penn Compact.  He will formally assume his office on July 1, 2009 after ratification by the University's Trustees at their June meeting.

In his scholarship, Vince is a leading global expert on public opinion, social influence, and political communication. His influential book Public Opinion (Sage, 1992) has been published in six languages and is taught in courses around the world. His work has been widely cited and funded by grants from the Pew Charitable Trusts, National Science Foundation, and National Institutes of Health.  He is former editor-in-chief of Public Opinion Quarterly, the leading journal of public opinion research; former guest editor of both Communication Research and Political Communication; and an active board member of several academic journals.

Vince earned a Ph.D. (1987) and M.A. (1985) in Communication from Stanford University, and a B.A. magna cum laude (1979) in English from the University Honors Program at Santa Clara University.  He came to Penn in 1998 from the University of Michigan, where he was Chair (1995-98) and Associate Professor of Communication Studies (1993-98) and a Faculty Associate (1987-98) of the Center for Political Studies.  In his 11 years at Penn, Vince has served as Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs (2007-present), Chair of the Faculty Senate (2006-07), and Associate Dean of the Annenberg School (2005-07).  Since the announcement of his appointment as Interim Provost last November and more formally since he assumed that office on March 1st, Vince has overseen all aspects of the University pertaining to faculty appointments, research, education, student life, athletics, libraries, and arts and culture.  He has worked effectively with each of the 12 Deans throughout this year's especially challenging budget cycle. As Interim Provost, he has also worked closely with the Executive Vice-President, the other members of my senior leadership team, and me in areas such as the University's operating and capital budgets and long-range financial plans. Vince also led the team that coordinated Penn's response to this past winter's meningitis outbreak.  As Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, he introduced new family-friendly policies and worked to increase faculty diversity, and he undertook new initiatives to address long-standing records management and data analysis issues, to identify and cultivate new faculty leadership, and to orient and train department chairs.

Everyone who knows Vince or has had the opportunity to work with him in his various leadership roles, describes him as a highly intelligent, perceptive, and unflappable leader, with exceptionally good judgment.  He is frequently described as thorough, thoughtful, and a person of the greatest integrity who genuinely listens, gathers information, and considers all sides of an argument before persuasively articulating a decision and the reasons for it.  As Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, he demonstrated the ability to understand and appreciate the many different forms of scholarship and professional practice engaged in by Penn's diverse faculty. He is conversant with both quantitative and qualitative modes of research.  He is deeply knowledgeable and respectful of the faculty's essential role in University affairs and the norms and practices of shared governance.  He is deeply committed to the Penn Compact and is instinctively interdisciplinary, committed to working across silos to implement and institutionalize our shared vision of Penn's future. He loves Penn and understands its unique heritage and ethos.  His daughter, Sarah, is a Penn undergraduate student in the School of Arts and Sciences.

My selection of Vince Price as Penn's next Provost concludes a five and one-half month international search in which the Consultative Committee, ably chaired by Wharton School Dean Thomas Robertson and assisted by Barbara Stevens and Philip Jaeger of the executive search firm Isaacson Miller, conducted dozens of informational interviews with individuals and groups in the Penn community to understand the scope, expectations, and challenges of the Provost position, as well as many informal contacts.  The Committee considered more than 180 individuals for the position.  From these, the Committee selected 12 individuals for interviews.  After discussing six of these candidates in detail with the Committee and conducting further interviews, background checks, and exhaustive reference conversations, Vince emerged from this intensive and rigorous process as the ideal person to serve as Penn's next Provost.

I know that Vince will be an exceptional partner for me and the entire Penn community.  His high and inclusive scholarly standards and his superb academic judgment - along with his calm and collaborative style - will help us sustain our momentum and increase our eminence despite these difficult economic times. From his exceptional performance as Interim Provost, it is evident that he is ideally suited to help me successfully translate our shared academic vision for Penn into reality as we continue to move Penn from excellence to eminence in the years ahead.


Amy Gutmann