The search for the second most important position at USF has come to an end after a six-month process culminated with USF President Judy Genshaft’s final say.
Genshaft announced Renu Khator as USF’s new provost Monday morning. Khator, who has held the position on an interim basis since since July, was informed of Genshaft’s decision on Thursday.
Although Genshaft notified Khator prior to her announcement, Khator said they both needed to go over some key issues before making the decision public.
“President Genshaft notified me on Thursday afternoon. And Friday, we sat down for two hours and talked about (Genshaft’s) expectations for the position and what it would take for me to be a respected provost,” Khator said on Monday afternoon.
According to Genshaft, she made the decision to appoint Khator after consulting with numerous faculty, staff and board members as well as deans from the different schools at USF.
“I received the search committee materials on (Jan. 30), and I consulted with different people before making my decision,” Genshaft said on Monday night. “(Khator) has very strong endorsement from campus and the community.”
Three other candidates who were in the final running for the position were: Anthony Garro, provost and vice president of Lehman College of the City University of New York; Stephen Lehmkuhle, vice president of academic affairs from the University of Missouri System; and Laura F. Lindsay, executive assistant to chancellor and professor of mass communications at Louisiana State University.
Genshaft said although the specifics for Khator’s transition from interim to provost are not yet finalized, she did comment on the salary increase Khator will receive with this new appointment.
“(Khator) will be paid competitively with other vice presidents and provosts in the Big East conference institutions,” Genshaft said.
In addition, Genshaft said the amount would be higher than former Provost S. David Stamps’ salary.
Khator said although she recognizes her job will be challenging, she was happy and looked forward to her work ahead as provost.
“One of our goals has been strategic planning, so we need to move into that direction,” Khator said. “However, another one of our goals is to provide competitive salaries for our faculty. We need to raise faculty salaries to competitive levels.”
Khator added that she received a lot of support from many faculty, staff and administration throughout USF, but in particular she has received immense love from her family.
“My husband has been my friend and mentor for the last 30 years in addition to my two daughters,” Khator said.
Both her daughters are doctors who are doing residencies in different cities in the United States.
Genshaft said she based her decision on Khator’s leadership, communication skills and knowledge of academic issues.
Roy Weatherford, faculty union president, said Khator’s appointment as provost did not come as a surprise.
“Dr. Khator has a great deal of respect from the faculty,” Weatherford said. “I think the appointment will be well- received.”
Weatherford, who has worked with Khator while she was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in addition to interim provost, said that although they might not have necessarily agreed with some issues on occasion, Khator has always been willing to listen to the opposite argument.
“(Khator) and I didn’t necessarily agree at times, but we would discuss the issue (at hand) and understood each other’s positions,” Weatherford said.
In regards to Khator’s future role as a liaison between the administration and the faculty, Weatherford said he doesn’t doubt Khator’s good intentions, but her actions will show where she really stands.
“If Khator is put in a position of choosing between academic freedom, shared governance and faculty rights,” Weatherford said. “I hope she would make the right choice.”