Daniel Diermeier appointed provost of University of Chicago

Daniel Diermeier, an internationally recognized scholar of political institutions, the Emmett Dedmon Professor and the dean of the Harris School of Public Policy, has been named the next provost of the University of Chicago.

President Robert J. Zimmer announced Diermeier’s appointment in a letter to the campus community on March 31, noting his strong record as an academic leader as well as the breadth of his intellectual accomplishments. Diermeier’s appointment as provost is effective July 1.

Zimmer said in his message that the Harris School has made swift progress since Diermeier became dean in 2014, including growth of its faculty and student body, collaboration on redevelopment of the school’s curriculum, and the creation of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Pearson Global Forum at the Harris School, supported by a $100 million gift to the University.

“Daniel has demonstrated leadership founded on the University’s values of rigorous inquiry, academic excellence and integrity, and has led Harris with energy, boldness and vision,” Zimmer wrote. “Combined with his demonstrated ability to bring various perspectives together, he brings to his new role a set of skills and experiences central to the work of the provost’s office.”

Diermeier said he is eager for the chance to collaborate with departments and offices across the University. As provost, he will serve as the University’s chief academic officer, overseeing 13 academic divisions, schools and institutes with faculty appointive powers. The provost works with the deans and faculty to ensure the eminence of the University’s research and educational programs, with responsibility for the academic appointment process, the University budget, space allocation and other areas of support for academic activities.

“The values that originally defined the founding of the University of Chicago still govern its daily life,” Diermeier said. “They provide a sense of lasting identity that allows the University to evolve, grow and reinforce its fundamental values. Serving this tremendous institution as provost is an honor and a profound responsibility. I look forward to this journey.”

Diermeier has published two books and more than 90 research articles, primarily in political science, economics and management, as well as in areas ranging from linguistics to psychology and computer science. In addition to his work on the interaction of business and politics, Diermeier is an expert in crisis and reputation management, and his 2011 book, Reputation Rules: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset, has become a highly regarded text in academia and business. He was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013 as a political scientist and game theorist. In 2014 he was named a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in recognition of his exceptional scholarship in political science.

As dean of the Harris School, Diermeier has overseen dramatic improvement in student support, facilities and placement rates, and has worked with the College to enhance the undergraduate major in public policy studies. He led planning and development for the Harris School’s new building, the Keller Center, which is scheduled to open in the 2018-19 school year.

The $100 million gift that supported creation of The Pearson Institute and The Pearson Global Forum is equal to the second-largest gift in the University’s history. Most recently the Harris School became the home of the International Innovation Corps and the Place Lab. The International Innovation Corps is a University of Chicago program that connects talented recent graduates with government organizations to work on yearlong fellowships focused on implementing innovative solutions to the most challenging social and economic problems. The Place Lab is a collaboration between the Harris School and UChicago Arts + Public Life, devoted to studying urban redevelopment strategies and the use of the arts and culture as a catalyst to positively reshape communities. 

Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Diermeier taught at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and taught for 17 years at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where he won 13 awards for teaching and received the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Pioneer Award. He also held appointments in economics, political science, linguistics, and the school of law at Northwestern University. At Kellogg, Diermeier was director of the Ford Motor Company Center for Global Citizenship. He co-founded the university-wide Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems; the CEO Perspective Program, a nationally recognized development program for C-Suite business executives developed as a partnership between Kellogg School of Management, the Corporate Leadership Center and the Chicago Booth School of Business; and the Northwestern Global Health Foundation.

Diermeier earned his PhD in political science from the University of Rochester as well as master’s degrees in political science from the University of Rochester and the University of Munich, and a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Southern California.

The University will begin a search immediately for the next dean of the Harris School.