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Michigan State University has assembled a search committee to help select a new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, school President Samuel Stanley Jr. announced Tuesday.

The "inclusive and distinguished" 22-person panel includes faculty, staff and students representing many areas of the East Lansing institution, Stanley said in an email to the MSU community.

It is co-chaired by Ron Hendrick, dean at the university's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Beronda Montgomery, the assistant provost for faculty development and MSU Foundation professor of biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and molecular genetics, according to the MSU website.

Committee members are expected to work with Parker Executive Search, a firm that specializes in higher education administration selections, to identify a candidate, MSU said.

The plan is to bring finalists to campus in the spring and identify a new provost by the end of the semester, said Stanley, who will recommend the top candidate to the board of trustees. Updates will be available online.

"The provost is a very important position at a university, serving as the chief academic officer for the institution," Stanley's letter said. "This person provides leadership for matters that affect academic programs, research and outreach involving all faculty, students and staff.

"I am confident our search committee members have the understanding and dedication to find a candidate who shares our priorities for student success, campus safety and diversity, as well as our commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence and world-changing research."

Last month, MSU announced Teresa A. Sullivan, an alumna and former University of Virginia president, had been named interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

She replaced June Youatt, who resigned Sept. 5 in the wake of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education over the university's handling of sexual abuse cases on campus and a record $4.5 million fine related to the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

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