Letter from the Provost
The University of Chicago is distinguished among its peers by its firm commitment to rigorous inquiry in all its forms. Many universities pay homage to the centrality of scholarship. But it is the day-to-day dedication to a place where ideas come first--“the intense, strenuous, and constant intellectual activity of the place,” in the words of President Robert Maynard Hutchins--that makes the University of Chicago what it is.
The Provost's most important task is to ensure that these academic values continue to guide day-to-day decisions. At a practical level the Provost's Office is also the place where academic ambitions meet the realities of resource constraints, where trade-offs must be made, and where the integrity of our academic values must be upheld. These are not always easy tasks. In the words of the University of Chicago’s first Provost Edward Levi, "The life of reason is a difficult life. It requires clarity, intellectual rigor, humility, and honesty. It requires commitment and considerable energy. It requires that we ask questions not only of others but of ourselves. It requires that we examine not only the beliefs of others, but those newly acquired doctrines which all are prone to believe because they are held by a group we favor, or are the cherished inspirations which come to us in the middle of the night and which we are certain cannot be wrong."
As I assume my responsibilities as Provost I look forward to working with the faculty, the staff, the Deans, and the University’s senior leadership to ensure that the values that have defined our University since its founding continue to govern its daily life.