The University Record, November 12, 2001

Courant named interim provost, Monts senior counselor

By Julie Peterson
Office of the Vice President for Communications

Several changes in key University leadership positions were announced Nov. 7 by B. Joseph White, as he prepares to assume the role of interim president Jan. 1.

Lisa A. Tedesco will return to her full-time role as vice president and secretary of the University in order to focus on the presidential search. In early September, when she was named interim provost, Lee C. Bollinger had not yet accepted the presidency of Columbia University.

“Lisa Tedesco has asked, and I have agreed, that she be allowed to devote her full time and attention to her responsibilities as vice president and secretary of the University,” White said in a letter announcing the changes. “Her request is based on the upcoming presidential search process for which the Regents are responsible. The Regents hold Lisa in the highest regard, and they have requested her dedicated support during the search process.

“President Bollinger and I extend our thanks to Lisa for her valuable service as interim provost during this time of leadership transition,” White said.

“Also, I want to thank her for once again putting the University’s needs and interests first in considering how she can most effectively contribute to our work in the coming year. Her contributions in multiple roles have been excellent and her spirit of service and dedication is exemplary.”

In light of Tedesco’s role change, White will recommend Paul N. Courant, associate provost for academic and budgetary affairs, and professor of economics and of public policy, be named interim provost. The appointment would be effective Jan. 1 pending approval by the Board of Regents.

“We are entering a period during which reconciling academic priorities with budget realities will be especially important and challenging,” White said of Courant’s appointment. “Paul Courant is ideally prepared and positioned to work with the deans, directors, chief financial officer and other executive officers, and me to ensure that we manage effectively and wisely during this period.”

Lester P. Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs and professor of music, will be named to a new role of senior counselor to the interim president for the arts, diversity and undergraduate affairs. This appointment also will be effective Jan. 1 and will be in addition to his continuing responsibilities in the Provost’s Office.

Noting that his first priority as interim president is to maintain momentum on key institutional commitments, White said Monts’s appointment will assure attention to “fostering excellence in arts and culture, being a richly diverse and mutually respectful community, and continually improving the quality of undergraduate education at the University.”

Thanking Tedesco, Bollinger said, “She has provided wise leadership and counsel during extraordinary times. None of us could have foreseen that our academic year would begin with a tragedy on the scale of the events that occurred Sept. 11. Lisa, guided by her respect for our University community and her deep concern for the well-being of faculty, staff and students, led us through many important decisions about how best to carry on in the aftermath of those events. I cannot thank her enough for her graceful handling of these challenges.

“Also, Lisa worked with the deans of our schools and colleges to advance important academic initiatives and budget developments, including the final report of the President’s Commission on the Undergraduate Experience, continued support for the Life Sciences, Values and Society Program, and departmental and curricular improvements in the School of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Courant joined the U-M faculty in 1973, and has been a faculty associate of the Institute for Social Research since 1975. He holds a B.A. in history from Swarthmore College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

Courant chaired the Department of Economics in 1995–97 and was director of the Institute of Public Policy Studies, now the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, in 1983–87 and 1989–90. He was appointed a senior fellow of the Michigan Society of Fellows, 1997-2001, and was named an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, 1996-99, for his outstanding teaching.

Courant served as a senior staff economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in 1979–80, and as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Congressional Budget Office in 1987–88. He has published numerous articles and books on research topics including tax policy and reform, federal budget deficits, poverty, the effects of gender in labor markets, and school finance.

Monts came to the U-M in 1993 from the University of California-Santa Barbara, where he was dean of undergraduate affairs in the College of Letters and Science and directed UC-Santa Barbara’s Undergraduate Honors Program. He also has served on the faculties of Edinboro University, University of Minnesota and Case Western Reserve University.

Monts received a B.A. in music education from Arkansas Polytechnic College, master of music degree in trumpet performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Minnesota. He has focused his scholarly research on the musical and cultural systems among the Vai people of Liberia and is regarded as one of the world’s leading scholars on music and culture in the Guinea Coast region of West Africa. As an orchestral trumpeter, he specializes in music of the Baroque era and has performed as a recitalist throughout the nation and with many symphonies and orchestras.

In his role as senior vice provost, Monts assists the provost on matters related to budget, tenure and promotion, enrollment, and a broad range of academic issues. He oversees the operation of several academic units including Arts at Michigan Program, Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, Office of New Student Programs, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, Office of Examinations and Evaluations, Office of the Registrar, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Office of Financial Aid, Student Information Systems, and the Army, Navy and Air Force Officers Training Programs.

During the past year, Monts served on the U-M President’s Commission on the Undergraduate Experience. His board memberships include the College Board Academic Assembly Council, chair of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Diversity Officers, Advisory Committee of the United Negro College Fund’s Patterson Research Institute, Visiting Committee of the Harvard University Department of Music, and vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the University Musical Society.