Three semi-finalists who are candidates to replace outgoing Provost Timothy Boosinger have been announced, and all three are sitting deans of colleges at Auburn.
A search committee made up of faculty, administrators and students selected deans George Flowers, Nicholas Giordano and Bill Hardgrave as the three semi-finalists.
"There was a very strong, very strong pool of candidates," said Vini Dean, dean of the college of architecture, design and construction and chair of the 14-member search committee. "This is the No. 2 position at the University. This is an extremely important and impactful position."
After five years of serving as University provost, Timothy Boosinger announced his retirement last month, which will be effective in early 2018. He began working at the University in 1993 as an assistant professor of pathobiology.
Boosinger was named associate dean for academic affairs in 1993 and served as dean from 1995 to 2011.
The search for a new provost and vice president for academic affairs was an internal search with seven candidates.
"The folks who applied are seasoned leaders who have accomplished great things at Auburn and other institutions," Nathan said. "We had to almost split hairs to try to find the top three. But the top three were very clearly the top candidates."
Flowers currently serves as the dean of the Graduate School at Auburn. Becoming dean of the Graduate School in 2008, Flowers has been a professor for 29 years with 27 years at Auburn. He served as acting associate dean and interim dean for several years before being selected as dean.
Giordano, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, has been in his position since 2013. Before being appointed as COSAM dean, Giordano was a professor, associate dean and physics department chair at Purdue University over the span of more than 20 years and, before that, at Yale.
Hardgrave, dean of the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business since 2010, was also selected as a semi-finalist. In his eighth year as dean, Hardgrave previously served as a professor at the University of Arkansas, joining their faculty in 1993.
The three semi-finalists are all men, but several women applied for the position and were considered, Nathan said.
"There were very strong female candidates as well, but we looked at the strongest three who could serve Auburn at this point, and these were the strongest three," Nathan said.
The three candidates will speak at open forums coming up in the next several weeks before the University Senate and other stakeholder groups. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.
Flowers will present at an open forum on Monday, Oct. 16; Giordano will present on Wednesday, Oct. 18; and Hardgrave will present on Friday, Oct. 20. All of the open forums will be in Room 107 of Wallace Hall at 3:45 p.m.
"Anybody is welcome to come see it," Nathan said. "We want this to be an open and transparent process."
In addition to open forums, the University is asking for anonymous feedback beginning on Oct. 23. Candidacy videos and presentations from the open forums will be uploaded to the search website, available here, after all three candidates have completed their presentations.
SGA President Jacqueline Keck and Graduate Students' Council President Tenchi Smith represented students on the search committee.
"They represented the students extremely well," Nathan said. "The questions that they have asked and their engagement has really made us so proud to have such amazing students at Auburn. The students deserve nothing but the best."