Provost finalists selected

Change seems to be around every corner at SVSU, as the selection of a new president means the university also needs a new provost.

President Don Bachand served as provost during Eric Gilbertson’s presidency and is still currently holding both positions while the search continues for his replacement.

J.J. Boehm, the director of Media and Community Relations, commented on process of finding a new provost.

“The provost is the chief academic officer for SVSU and so oversees all academic programs. All five deans report to the provost,” Boehm said. “The provost has academic responsibilities such as overseeing accreditation and the hiring of new faculty.”

According to Boehm, Bachand has held the provost position since 2010 when he added it onto the position he already held of vice president of Academic Affairs.

Boehm explained that Bachand is interested in a quick replacement while still ensuring that the right candidate is chosen, especially since he is filling the roles of president and provost.

There were more than 30 applicants for this position, most of them external, but a few were from SVSU.

The appointed search committee is of 11 SVSU faculty members who reviewed the academic resumes of all the applicants and then selected a group of semi-finalists.

After that, they conducted phone interviews and selected the four finalists from there. Candidates will come to campus and meet with groups of faculty, staff and students, and then each finalist will have two open forums to accommodate multiple class schedules.

Students and staff are able to provide feedback to committee members, who take everything into consideration and make a final decision, which then must be approved by the president.

Boehm stressed how exceptionally the search committee has done so far in finding an adequate replacement.

“They had a vast amount of work to do in a very short amount of time, but did so while still being effective,” he said. “They did an extraordinary job.”

Boehm said that the search for a replacement provost is not irrelevant to the average SVSU student.

He explained that though the provost’s responsibilities and decisions are not always the most visible to the student body, they are of critical importance.

“This is the person whose chief responsibility is to ensure the quality of our academic programs,” Boehm said. “And (when he was provost), Bachand personally met with every candidate for an open faculty position. The provost is actively involved in hiring new professors.”

The four people who have a chance to take Bachand’s place in this critical role are George Arasimowicz, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Kean University in New Jersey; Thomas Erekson, dean of the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University; Deborah Huntly, current SVSU faculty and dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology here at SVSU; and Robert Marande, SVSU alumni and assistant provost and dean of undergraduate education at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.

As for the future of SVSU, Boehm recognized that this is clearly a time of transitions for the SVSU community.

“The major duties of provost will stay the same,” he said. “However, when you have a transition in president and provost, it’s natural to evaluate what changes for the better can be made.”

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