Direct a company’s daily affairs as its second-in-command.
Although they’re places of learning, universities are also places of business. What they market, manufacture, and sell isn’t widgets, however; it’s knowledge. That makes University Provosts the academic equivalent of Product Engineers, in charge of designing and managing all facets of the production of education, from conception to execution.
As a University Provost, you’re a Chief Academic Officer. The “boss of education,” you’re very important. In fact, you’re typically second in command, subordinate only to the University President and the board of trustees, which appoints you to supervise your school’s academic operations, objectives, and community in the same way a Chief Financial Officer oversees a company’s finances, or a Chief Information Officer its technology.
To that end, your responsibilities as a University Provost include supervising the Deans of individual schools, colleges, and faculties, as well as the heads of various support functions, such as the library, registrar, and admissions office. You also set academic policies, ensure academic integrity, and oversee and approve budgets for academic departments, as well as school-sponsored research projects. In addition, you report to the President and board of trustees regarding academic and research matters, and collaborate with Deans on curriculum and program development. On top of all that, you hire, manage, promote, and fire faculty and staff, and manage your school’s academic reputation via strategic planning and reporting.
As a senior university executive, you also advise on university-wide planning, policy, and operations, and act on behalf of the President when he or she is unavailable.
College campuses are self-contained universes in which planets revolve around scholars instead of suns. Think of yourself as the Governor of one!