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UW Provost Mark Richards to step down

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Gerberding Hall, site of the Office of the Provost.

UW Provost Mark Richards has announced that in June of 2023 he will step down from both that position and the vice presidency of academic affairs. He plans to continue to teach earth and space sciences in the College of the Environment.

The end of Richards’ tenure as provost is slated to run through the entire five-year term he began in 2018. The position is responsible for serving as UW’s chief academic officer and for overseeing the budget on all academic functions across UW. 

In a statement from the Office of the President, Ana Mari Cauce highlighted Richards’ achievements during his tenure as provost. One of the most publicly touted University initiatives undertaken during Richard’s tenure was the Faculty Diversity Initiative. The initiative, which was launched in 2021, redistributed funds in an effort to recruit diverse faculty across UW and established a statement of contribution to the ongoing efforts of diversity and inclusion awareness from all faculty. 

Richards’ tenure as provost was made uniquely difficult by the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the last few years have been difficult for everyone across campus, Richards dealt directly with a shut-down campus and its radically unprecedented effects at a higher education landscape. 

“In his time as provost, Mark has had a significant positive impact, starting with the nine outstanding deans that he’s hired during his tenure,” Cauce said in a statement. “Mark has also been collaboratively leading and supporting the Faculty Diversity Initiative, which has enabled our extraordinary recent success in recruiting talented faculty representing the many communities and students we serve.”

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The selection process for Richards’ replacement will commence this year. Cauce stated that the selection committee timeline and opportunities for community input will be announced later this fall once the academic year is underway. 

“Our University — faculty, staff, students, alumni and all those we serve — owes Mark Richards a debt of gratitude for what he’s accomplished as provost, and for what he’ll continue to do over the course of the coming academic year,” Cauce said.

Reach News Editor Luke Amrine at Twitter: @amrine_luke

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