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Mark Searle to step down as ASU provost

Searle will transition to the role of University Professor, assisting the president and next university provost with the implementation of strategic initiatives


portrait of Mark Searle
September 30, 2020

Arizona State University today announced that Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle will step down from his position on June 30, 2021. Searle has held the post since November 2015 after serving as interim for seven months prior. He will transition to the role of University Professor, assisting the president and next university provost with the implementation of strategic initiatives.  

“I am deeply grateful to Mark for the time, energy and expertise he has dedicated as university provost,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “Our academic enterprise has been led to new heights under Mark’s leadership with record enrollment, student diversity and retention and graduation rates. We have become a stronger, better university because of his unwavering commitment to excellence.”

An accomplished university administrator and distinguished scholar, Searle joined ASU in 1995. He began his career at ASU as the founding dean of the College of Human Services and advanced through leadership roles at the university. He served as provost of West campus, vice president for academic personnel, and deputy provost and chief of staff to the provost.

Searle’s time as university provost has been marked by tremendous increases in access for students, exponential growth in research activity and gains in academic achievement. Over the last six years, the university saw significant growth in enrollment with notable gains in first-generation students, underrepresented minorities and international students.  Searle also expanded the number of degrees offered to students, introducing more than 125 new choices for students to engage and advance their aspirations. Research productivity, including scholarly recognitions, publication profile and external funding also increased markedly. And with first-year retention up substantially at nearly 87%, the university is closing in on its goal of a 90% first-year retention rate.  

The university has also jumped in a number of rankings over the last six years including grabbing and retaining the No. 1 in Innovation ranking by U.S. News and World Report for six years; landing at No. 1 in the U.S. and the top five in the world for global impact by Times Higher Education; and for the first time ever breaking the top 50 of public schools in the U.S. as determined by U.S. News and World Report.

“It has been a true honor and privilege to serve at ASU during such a phenomenal time of growth and achievement,” Searle said. “Over the last decade and a half, ASU has grown into such a strong community of scholars, educators and public servants that share a common commitment to our charter. And that commitment has been nothing short of inspiring and truly transformative as evidenced by the impact this university has had on students’ lives, our community and innumerable fields of research.”

Searle told Crow in January 2020 that he planned to step down in June 2021. Shortly thereafter, COVID-19 arrived. “Like everyone else, I could not have predicted the effect the pandemic would have on the university, but the tenacity and resiliency of our students, faculty and staff to persevere has been remarkable.” 

ASU will conduct an internal search to identify the next executive vice president and university provost. The search committee will be co-chaired by Tiffany Ana López, incoming vice provost for inclusion and community engagement, and Pat Kenney, dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Full membership of the search committee will be announced shortly.

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