October 21, 2019
At the end of our fall break, I write to let you know that we will soon launch a search for the next provost of NYU Abu Dhabi. We are exceedingly fortunate that Fabio Piano — a world class systems biologist and strategic founder of NYUAD — has served in this vital role from the start of our first academic year in 2010. Finding his successor will be a most challenging task. While we aim for our next provost to arrive by September 2020, we will take the time needed to identify and recruit an exceptional academic leader. I am therefore delighted and grateful that Fabio will continue to be the provost until his successor can arrive.
I want to express profound gratitude to Fabio for ten years of academic leadership, during which he has built our institution with equal regard for the first-rate quality of the faculty and the vitality of our undergraduate educational offerings. While he put his wide-ranging, energetic intelligence to building the world’s honors college, he also kept a keen eye on NYU Abu Dhabi’s role as an outstanding research university that would both mobilize the opportunities of our global institution and serve important needs in the region. Fabio fostered a culture of excellence and innovation in research, and helped ensure generous support for faculty inquiry and the development of the Research Institute. Building on these achievements, he developed a compelling vision for graduate programs that has already brought dozens of outstanding Global PhD fellows and numerous postdocs to our campus. In 2016, he and former Vice Chancellor Al Bloom were the architects of NYUAD’s strategic plan for the measured growth of student and faculty numbers as well as further development of research.
Fabio achieved these impressive successes with an extraordinary ability to bring the academic community together with kindness and open ears for the interests of all. He has built a provost’s office of collaborative and thoughtful colleagues that is a gift to our institution and to me. Personally, I want to thank Fabio for being the most warmly welcoming colleague and friend since my return in August. He is an academic partner of the highest order, helping me understand fully the history, opportunities, and needs of NYU Abu Dhabi. It goes without saying that after his term as provost comes to an end, Fabio will remain a crucial member of our institution, campus, and faculty. In the years ahead, he will take up with enhanced time his research as one of NYU’s leading life scientists, and continue to be a key bridge builder between NYUAD and NYU New York. The NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology that he envisioned and built is an important model for that work.
The provost of NYU Abu Dhabi serves as our chief academic conscience and strategist. Appointing another outstanding leader to the position, with a view to NYUAD’s second extraordinary decade ahead, is one of my most significant responsibilities. To ensure a comprehensive, expeditious, and international search, we have engaged the search firm Perrett Laver, based in London, which assisted in the search for the vice chancellor and is deeply familiar with our academic qualities and our community. I am currently in the process of constituting a search committee that will have robust representation from Abu Dhabi and New York. The committee will be tasked to identify and recommend several candidates of the highest academic caliber and outstanding leadership ability for my consideration in the spring semester.
We look forward to providing you with a further update once our search committee has been established.