I am pleased to share with you the news that we are initiating a national search to identify our next provost and executive vice chancellor. We seek to attract an outstanding candidate to provide leadership and vision as we move forward in education, research, and service. More »
Written comments or nominations should be addressed to:
P-EVC Search Committee
In Care of Jiwon Kim, project administrator for academic affairs
Aldrich Hall 509, Mail Code 1000
Irvine California 92697-1000
Howard Gillman, an accomplished administrator and award-winning scholar and teacher, becomes provost and executive vice chancellor at UC Irvine as of June 17, 2013. He will also serve as a political science and law professor.
As the No. 2 person in campus administration, Gillman will oversee academics and operations and report directly to Chancellor Michael Drake. He’ll guide the development of academic priorities and strategies; work with deans to recruit and retain a diverse and talented faculty; and, in coordination with the chancellor, lead the university’s overall strategic planning.
Prior to his appointment at UC Irvine, Gillman was a professor of political science, history and law at the University of Southern California. From 2007 to 2012, he was dean of the USC David & Dana Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences. The largest, oldest and most diverse academic unit at USC, it comprises 33 departments, dozens of research centers and institutes, 7,000 undergraduates, 1,200 doctoral students, and nearly 800 faculty members with expertise in the humanities, social sciences, and physical, biological and natural sciences. Gillman developed and managed an annual budget of about $340 million and oversaw a staff of more than 600, including professionals in external relations, communications and technology, admissions and student advisement.
As dean, he raised almost $450 million and played a central role in securing a $200 million unrestricted endowment, the biggest single gift in the history of USC and the largest naming gift in the history of higher education for a research university’s college of letters, arts & sciences. Gillman was also credited with promoting innovative academic programs, increasing external research funding, recruiting more than 100 new faculty members, fostering institutional diversity, and enhancing the quality of both undergraduate and graduate research programs.
He previously held positions as USC’s associate vice provost for research advancement and chair of its Department of Political Science.
Gillman earned a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. at UCLA. He’s a nationally recognized expert in American constitutionalism and judicial politics. Among his published works are:
He has received a number of awards for his scholarly contributions, including the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in the field of public law and the American Judicature Society Award for best paper presented at a regional or national conference, both bestowed by the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. He has chaired that section and been honored by it for exceptional service and mentoring.
Recognition of Gillman’s dedication to students and teaching has included USC Dornsife’s General Education Teaching Award and the Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching – USC’s highest career achievement award, given to only two faculty members each year. In 2001, he was made a Distinguished Faculty Fellow at USC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching. At the end of his deanship, two anonymous donors made a $1 million gift to USC to establish the Dean Howard Gillman Fund in honor of his commitment to undergraduate research.
A native of Southern California, Gillman grew up in North Hollywood and was a first-generation college student. His wife, Ellen, earned a bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego and a master’s and doctorate in psychology at UCLA. They have two children.
What attracted you to the position of Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at UC Irvine?
It is a tremendous honor to become part of this great academic community. UC Irvine has become a prominent, world-class university in a relatively short period of time, and this has produced a culture that always strives for excellence, is open to innovation, and expects next year to be better than last year. The university’s energy is palpable, and there are exciting opportunities to build on existing strengths and accelerate UC Irvine’s ascendency. Everyone I met during the recruitment process is dedicated to being the best in their fields and is eager to take bold steps to move the university forward in the years to come. The chancellor’s articulation of UC Irvine’s core values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, empathy, appreciation and fun also ensures that we will do this work together in a way that elevates and inspires everyone associated with this community.
With the university’s 50th anniversary just two years away, the future is bright, and we have the opportunity to make new and vitally important contributions to our world. I think this is one of the most attractive positions in higher education, and I’m thrilled to be the newest member of the team.
How did you decide to become a professor?
It’s a little unusual that I found that path, since my parents never went to college. We didn’t have a lot but they made sure I took school seriously and worked hard to get a great education. The one thing I was always allowed to purchase with no questions asked was a book, so I did a lot of reading in my youth – in between stints as a drummer in various garage bands and as a semi-professional magician. (Don’t ask; I haven’t practiced either in a long time.)
I became enamored with the “life of the mind” because my reading habits exposed me to great writers and thinkers. Also, I watched the Watergate hearings unfold on television in my teens, which generated an interest in American constitutionalism. Like many people who end up in academia, I also had great encouragement from teachers, both in high school and college, making me realize that I would be a lucky person if my life’s work could be to think about, write about, and teach students about the debates we have over our society’s fundamental, touchstone values and aspirations.
You have a history with the University of California, is that right?
Yes, both my wife and I. My wife, Ellen, received her bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego and her master’s and doctorate in psychology from UCLA. I received all my degrees from UCLA. Ellen and I met at UCLA 30 years ago, so the University of California has had a profound effect on our lives.
The creation of the University of California is one of the greatest decisions ever made by a free, democratic people. The positive impact it has had on our state, on our world, and on generations of students is incalculable. I would not have been able to get such an outstanding education without the support of the people of my state. With their help, I was able to work my way through college, attend a great graduate program, and have a career that has allowed me to make a positive contribution. I know first-hand the vital role played by public research universities in advancing and enriching the lives of talented young women and men who want a chance at a world-class education.
What made you decide to take on administrative responsibilities?
It’s a good question, because I love teaching and many believe that being a faculty member is the best job in the world. After many years as a faculty member my dean encouraged me to become a department chair, and after that I was appointed an associate vice provost for research advancement. This position was allowed me to interact with a wide range of people, departments and schools. It was a rare opportunity, after decades doing the same job, to develop as a person and as a professional – to learn new skills, develop new interests, take on new responsibilities, and see if I was good at other things.
In 2007, when the deanship of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences became available, I was asked to fulfill that role. By then our kids were old enough that they didn’t need me hovering around them as much as I had been, and so the timing was right for me and my family to take on a new challenge.
What do you consider your top accomplishments as dean of USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences?
The LAS dean position at USC is a big banquet. It is the heart of the university, comprising 33 academic departments, dozens of research centers and institutes, 8,000 undergraduates, a staff of 600, and nearly 800 faculty members who have expertise across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
Despite the budgetary challenges of the global financial crisis, the LAS team and I were able to make significant advances on all key aspects of our academic mission. We recruited more than 100 new faculty and a dozen other program leaders and directors, enhanced the quality of Ph.D. programs and improved undergraduate graduation rates. We also increased external funding for research – including a 34 percent increase in proposal submissions and the establishment of a new $25 million National Science Foundation “center of excellence” – while enhancing support for the humanities at a time when other universities were cutting back support. We invested in innovation, creating profitable and high-quality distance-learning and professional master’s programs while expanding undergraduate opportunities to conduct research, study overseas, and engage in service learning.
During my first year as dean, I announced that we would make the advancement of diversity a “compelling strategic interest.” I appointed the college’s first Vice Dean for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives, Professor George Sanchez, the key founder of USC’s program in American Studies and Ethnicity and a person who has devoted much of his professional career to these issues. We developed exemplary programs and practices for the recruitment, retention, and mentoring of underrepresented faculty and students, including first-generation undergraduates and women in science and engineering. Because of George’s outstanding leadership, the efforts in this vital area were second-to-none and have become a great source of professional pride.
Many satisfying achievements involved building relationships with outstanding volunteers, foundations, and corporations in support of our faculty and students. This work resulted in about $450 million of fundraising success, including a $200 million naming gift of unrestricted endowment, which was the largest single gift in USC’s history. Those experiences remind us that what we do is inspirational to people of goodwill who want to make a difference in the world.
Why did you not continue in that position after the five-year term?
When I was offered a reappointment, I had to think hard about whether I wanted to do the same thing in the years to come or whether I was ready to explore new opportunities. At the time, USC was ramping up a $6 billion fundraising campaign, and I didn’t want to put my colleagues in a position where we would risk losing fundraising momentum if I chose to leave for another position. Once I decided that I was interested in exploring other opportunities, I thought it was only fair to my colleagues and mentors that I give them a chance to search for an outstanding new dean while I was still there to keep things moving forward, which is what we did. The chance to move from a dean position at an AAU (Association of American Universities) institution to a provost position at an AAU institution was precisely the sort of new opportunity that I hoped might become available to me.
Could you describe the recruitment process? When were you first contacted? How many people and interviews were involved?
The recruitment process was rigorous. I was first contacted by the search firm during the fall, and it did not take long for me to decide that this was an exciting opportunity. After interviewing with the 22-member selection committee, the search firm employed a systematic and comprehensive effort to collect facts on the final candidates, including extensive background checks and outreach to many people for references and comment. I then had a chance to visit the campus for two full days, meeting with about 50 administrators, faculty, students, staff, and volunteers. Everything I learned convinced me more and more that this was a great fit.
Why do you think you were chosen for this position?
During the recruitment process, I learned that campus leaders were looking for a candidate who could do a number of things: work with the faculty, students and staff to forge a clear and compelling academic vision and plan for the future; continue to build and strengthen UC Irvine’s diverse and inclusive community; retain, recruit, and develop an increasingly distinguished faculty; further strengthen the UC Irvine student experience; promote continued excellence through interdisciplinary and cross school investment in UC Irvine’s areas of distinction; and serve as an advocate and external ambassador. I believe that my background and record led people to conclude that I could help this great institution address these challenges and opportunities. I’m certainly here because I want to make that kind of difference.
As you know, a small group of faculty members raised concerns about tenure decisions during your deanship that adversely affected minority faculty and women. How do you respond to the concerns?
This group’s criticism of my record on tenure cases for women and minorities is not based on the facts. In the latest manual for the University Committee on Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure (UCAPT), USC reports that from the academic year 2006-2007 through 2011-2012—which is the term of my deanship – 86 percent of the tenure-track faculty university-wide who completed the UCAPT process were granted tenure, with the proportion of women receiving tenure nearly identical to the rate for men (1.2 percent higher for women), and with almost identical rates for faculty who identify themselves as non-Hispanic whites and those who identified themselves as ethnic minorities (1.2 percent lower for ethnic minorities). None of these inter-group differences are statistically significant, indicating that there has been no uneven or partial treatment of faculty in tenure cases. Tellingly, I think, neither the faculty Academic Senate nor the college’s elected Faculty Council share the concerns that have been expressed by these individuals.
In addition, I’d like to respond to the group’s mention of “cold call” reference checks made during a tenure process. Throughout most of my deanship, USC’s process did not contemplate that deans could supplement dossiers by seeking additional input from scholars, so that was not my practice. Toward the end of my term the official process was revised to permit such calls under some circumstances. After that change, my practice was still not to make such calls unless instructed to do so by the provost after a request from the faculty on the tenure committee. In one of the very few cases where this was done, a candidate who was denied tenure filed a grievance and provided USC’s student newspaper with details on her case. Her grievance was reviewed by the faculty Tenure and Privileges Committee, which found no evidence of discrimination; however, they also concluded that the lack of detailed protocol for such additional input justified having her dossier reviewed again without the supplemental input. This new review occurred earlier this year, under the leadership of the dean who succeeded me, and tenure was again denied. So my presence or absence had no bearing on that outcome.
How do you describe your leadership style?
I approach these positions the way I approached teaching, where I tried to motivate students by being the most enthusiastic and positive person in the room, and also by setting high standards and inviting them to do their best work. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having students say that your class was the best class they ever took because they worked the hardest and accomplished a lot. And so in that spirit, I want to be a passionate advocate of the highest aspirations of UC Irvine’s faculty, students, staff, and supporters, as well as an exemplary steward of the community’s most fundamental values. A provost also has to be a good listener, a fair broker, a transparent decision maker, and a reliable and effective partner with the Academic Senate. I am dedicated to doing all I can to support our terrific deans and ensure their success as academic leaders and ambassadors for our faculty and students. I also remember the advice of my mentors, who taught me to be generous when it comes to crediting others for successes. Great things usually get done, not by the direct efforts of senior academic leaders, but because the right people have been empowered to do outstanding work.
Have you been thinking about your vision as provost? What opportunities do you see at this early stage? What you would like to achieve?
We are in a time of rapid and disruptive changes in the practices of higher education. The landscape in teaching, research, the professions, and the creative arts will be very different even five years from now. Institutions that merely defend traditional practices and structures are at great risk. While this context poses a threat to some universities and colleges, it also presents opportunities for those that make good decisions. After all, progress assumes change. As the history of American constitutionalism reveals, sometimes a “community of principle” best protects and enhances its core values by properly adapting to new circumstances.
I have a lot to learn from my new colleagues, and I expect us to look back on this time with pride that, working together, we identified areas of excellence and established priorities, programs, and practices that enabled UC Irvine to further evolve into a globally pre-eminent research university for the 21st century – and in so doing, made important contributions to human progress, enlightenment, and well-being. That’s the reason we’re all here.