Background Image Alternative Text: Aerial view of the Drill Field at MSU

The Opportunity

Mississippi State University invites applications and nominations for the position of Provost and Executive Vice President. Reporting directly to President Mark E. Keenum, the Provost and Executive Vice President serves as the chief academic officer for MSU and is responsible for all academic policies and operations of the University. The Provost is also responsible for the integrity of the academic mission of MSU and oversees eight Colleges, the Graduate School, Shackouls Honors College, libraries, and several academic and administrative support units.


The University

Ariel view of campus looking at the Drill Field

Established in 1878, Mississippi State University (MSU) is one of the nation’s leading land-grant, space-grant, sea-grant universities. Classified by the Carnegie Foundation as R1: Doctoral University – Very High Research Activity, Mississippi State enrolls more than 22,000 students and employs more than 4,900 individuals statewide, including 1,400 faculty members. The University has achieved Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification based on the University's excellent alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices in support of dynamic and noteworthy community engagement.

Rich in history and tradition, the University has 143,000 enthusiastic and supportive living alumni. In addition to the main campus in Starkville, the university has a campus in Meridian and instructional sites in Jackson, Biloxi, and Gautier, as well as an extensive Distance Education program. The University awards more than 4,000 degrees annually at the bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral, and professional levels.


The Position

Students in classroom paying attention to the teacher while making notes

The Provost and Executive Vice President leads institutional efforts in pursuit of academic excellence and provides direct oversight for academic colleges and campuses as well as academic and non-academic support units. The Provost and Executive Vice President is the chief academic officer of the University and the second-ranking university administrator, reporting to the President and acting as institutional executive officer in the President's absence.

The primary responsibilities as chief academic officer include setting standards and assessing institutional effectiveness in academic programs; providing leadership related to faculty recruitment and development, overseeing promotion and tenure decisions, and maintaining a professional work environment for faculty and staff; and, ensuring the quality of student learning by working with the deans and faculty on curriculum development and initiatives in undergraduate and graduate education. The Provost and Executive Vice President serves as liaison to the Faculty Senate and maintains professional relationships with the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and with academic officers of other universities and community colleges in Mississippi and beyond.

Outside The Chapel of Memories looking up

The Provost and Executive Vice President supports the President in exercising his primary responsibility for university strategic planning and for defining and articulating the vision of MSU and its role in the State of Mississippi, the nation, and the world. The Provost and Executive Vice President assists the President in the overall management of the university; works with the President and other senior administrators to develop budgetary recommendations that affect the full teaching, research, and service missions of the institution; coordinates the activities of other vice presidents on matters related to the academic mission of the university; and develops and assures compliance with administrative directives, as delegated by the President.


Required Characteristics and Attributes

  • The highest academic degree appropriate to the individual's discipline, an earned doctorate or terminal degree.
  • A record of excellence in research, teaching, and professional service that merits appointment as a tenured professor at Mississippi State University.
  • Meaningful experience as an academic administrator, including experience with the promotion and tenure process, with demonstrated skills in fiscal management, personnel management, resource development, and resource allocation.
  • Demonstrated appreciation of the multiple missions and roles of a comprehensive, land-grant University.
  • Demonstrated innovative and progressive leadership.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Commitment to enhancing the quality of student life and learning.
  • Superior interpersonal and communication skills.

Expected Knowledge, Skills, Characteristics and Competencies

  • Experience as dean, associate provost, provost and/or other meaningful academic leadership positions.
  • Understands the comprehensive nature of MSU.
  • Collaborative, team player, and team builder.
  • Works well with peers and those supervised.
  • Orientation to the whole student.
  • Experience with or appreciation of branch campuses.
  • Provides leadership by example.
  • Ability to develop and articulate vision.
  • Understanding of research and scholarship across all colleges.
  • Proven commitment to diversity.
  • Ability to promote dialog about sensitive and difficult issues.
  • Understands the unique aspects of Mississippi, e.g. history, culture, IHL.
  • Appreciation for the unique aspects of professional schools.
  • Values student voice, and empowers student leaders.
  • Ability to establish positive relationships with academic deans.
  • Understands the need to address priorities; urgent versus important.
  • Fiscally astute.
  • Vision for distance education.
  • Leadership in globalization.
  • Actively engaged in the everyday life of the university.
  • Approachable and receptive to the views of others.