Chancellor Search Advisory Committee appointed; Geer to lead

Five members of Advisory Committee also will serve on Search Committee

Bruce R. Evans
Bruce R. Evans

Vanderbilt University Board of Trust Chairman Bruce R. Evans has appointed a Chancellor Search Advisory Committee to assist in the search for the university’s ninth chancellor.

The composition of the Advisory Committee, in particular, and the search process, in general, underscore the university’s commitment to shared governance.

“The Chancellor Search Advisory Committee will play a vital role in offering advice on the qualities and experiences that our next chancellor should have,” said Evans, who is chairing the Chancellor Search Committee. “Their input will ensure we identify a great leader for Vanderbilt.”

The Advisory Committee, consisting of faculty, staff, students and alumni, will gather, synthesize and provide advice to the Search Committee on the priorities the next chancellor should address, as well as discern the qualities that individual should possess.

The role of the Search Committee is to identify and interview quality candidates and then recommend a stellar candidate to the Board of Trust. To ensure consideration of the very best candidates, the Search Committee’s work and the actual contenders will be confidential.

John Geer, dean of the College of Arts and Science and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science (Anne Rayner / Vanderbilt)
John Geer, dean of the College of Arts and Science and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science (Anne Rayner / Vanderbilt)

John Geer, dean of the College of Arts and Science and the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, will serve as the chair of the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee.

“I am truly honored that Bruce Evans asked me to lead the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee,” Geer said. “Our committee has a key role to play in the selection of our next chancellor. We are all deeply committed to working together to help identify the best person to build on the momentum and success that has defined Vanderbilt in recent years.”

The other Advisory Committee members are:

  • Douglas Adams, Daniel F. Flowers Professor of Engineering and Distinguished Professor and chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering*;
  • Kelsea Best, president-elect, Graduate Student Council;
  • Frances Burton, president-elect, Vanderbilt Student Government;
  • Tracey George, interim vice provost for faculty affairs and the Charles B. Cox III and Lucy D. Cox Family Chair in Law and Liberty;
  • Sarah Igo*, associate professor of history and faculty director of E. Bronson Ingram College;
  • Candice Storey Lee*, associate vice chancellor for university affairs and deputy athletic director;
  • Christopher Loss, associate professor of public policy and higher education;
  • Jeff Loudon, president-elect, University Staff Advisory Council;
  • Dan Lovinger, BA’87, Alumni Association president;
  • Lawrence Marnett, dean of basic sciences in the School of Medicine and University Professor of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacology; and Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research;
  • Joshua McGuire, senior lecturer in aural skills;
  • John McLean, Stevenson Professor of Chemistry and Faculty Senate chair-elect;
  • Dana Nelson, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English;
  • Linda Norman, dean of the School of Nursing and the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing;
  • David Owens*, professor of the practice of management and innovation;
  • Eric Skaar, Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor of Pathology and professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology;
  • Emilie Townes, dean of the Divinity School and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society; and
  • Tiffiny Tung, associate professor of anthropology.
    *Individual also serves on Chancellor Search Committee.

The search process itself and the membership of the Advisory Committee reflect many conversations between members of the Search Committee and key stakeholders.

“Throughout our discussions, it became clear that the process to select our next leader should evolve to better reflect today’s Vanderbilt and our commitment to shared governance,” Evans said. “Therefore, I’m pleased to announce that we have also asked five members of the Advisory Committee to serve as voting members of the Search Committee.”

All prior searches for a new chancellor relied on a search committee comprised almost entirely of members of the Board of Trust. The new structure not only advances shared governance, but forges a stronger link between the two committees than in the past.

Those who will sit on both the Search and Advisory committees are Douglas Adams, John Geer, Sarah Igo, Candice Storey Lee and David Owens.

Both committees will begin their work immediately. The Advisory Committee will launch listening tours early in the summer to start collecting input from all key stakeholders.

Lori Hemmer, chief of staff, Office of the Chancellor, will serve as chief of staff to the Search Committee and the Advisory Committee. In addition, the Search Committee will announce a national firm to assist with the search in the near future .

On April 2, Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos announced his plans to step down as chancellor Aug. 15 following 11 years of service in the role. The Board of Trust has appointed Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente to serve as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 15.

Updates on the chancellor search will be shared at

Kate Derrick contributed to this story.