Ann Cudd named finalist for president at Portland State University, touts diversity initiatives in interest letter


TPN File Photo

Provost Ann Cudd, pictured at a Student Government Board meeting on Oct. 24, 2018.

By Punya Bhasin, News Editor

Portland State University named Provost Ann Cudd as one of two finalists for its president position.

Portland State University is seeking a successor to president Stephen Percy, who is retiring. The presidential search website for Portland State University features letters of interest from both Cudd and another finalist, Kathy Johnson, who is the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. 

In Cudd’s letter of interest, she touted her experience in “recruitment, hiring, mentoring, and promotion of students and faculty of color.” 

Cudd said she was motivated to apply due to her “deep commitment to higher education and belief in its transformative power to change individual lives and build a thriving democratic society, as well as my strong desire to live in and contribute to the incredible city of Portland.”

During Cudd’s time at Pitt, the University shifted to a test optional admission process for prospective applicants. Cudd also helped implement a plan for more diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the creation of a data dashboard measuring diversity on campus, and helped create and implement the anti-Black racism course. 

Cudd has been criticized during her tenure at Pitt regarding the impending closure of the English Language Institute as well as comments from 2018 where she said a faculty union “doesn’t really make sense.” 

The process to determine who will get the president position will remain confidential and typically lasts two to six weeks, Christina Williams, a spokesperson for Portland State, told TribLive on Friday.

Nick France, a University spokesperson, said “it is not unusual” for other universities to consider Pitt leaders for positions at their universities. 

“Portland State University has announced that Pitt’s Provost Ann E. Cudd is a candidate for the position of president at that institution,” France said. “It is certainly not unusual for outstanding individuals within our community to be approached for open leadership positions at other institutions.”