By Patricia E. Salkin, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost of the Graduate and Professional Divisions, Touro University

A little studied trend revealed in a new book, shows the exponential increase in the number of lawyers being appointed as college and university presidents.  Serving as a provost is often a pathway to the presidency for those interested, yet the data shows that most lawyer presidents did not previously serve as provosts or chief academic officers.  Although there is little published research about the backgrounds of provosts, it is fair to state that the typical provost does not possess a JD degree.  A 2010 Study of Chief Academic Officers of Independent Colleges and Universities published by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) indicated that among provosts (of chief academic officers) at four-year colleges and universities, at least 90% indicated that they held a terminal degree.  The study reported that 86% of chief academic officers at independent institutions had earned a PhD and 10% had earned an EdD. Of the remaining 4%, the survey reported the provosts possessed theology degrees, JDs (less than 1%) and MDs.