Search for New Provost Will Soon Be Over
Sarah McQueen

The search for a new provost is well underway and choices have been narrowed to three candidates.

The provost has many responsibilities such as appointing all faculty, deans and academic staff. The provost is also in charge of approving new majors, reviewing already existing programs and determining when it is appropriate to hold special funding opportunities for things like modernizing labs or further development of faculty and staff. The provost plays a big role in deciding what programs will be offered, who will work on campus and how much they will get paid.

“We’re looking for somebody who is visionary and who understands why that’s important to the university,” said Bernie Patterson, the chancellor at UWSP. “We’re looking for somebody who is collaborative, creative, energetic and understands issues important to us, like diversity.” All three candidates will be brought in to interview before a committee at the end of April. The job was posted last November and phone interviews were conducted in February. The committee is made of 12 members, two of which are students. The rest are faculty and staff from various departments across campus. After interviewing each candidate, the committee will make a recommendation to the chancellor who will then make the final decision.

The three choices right now are the interim provost Greg Summers, Otto Chang and Robert Knight. Summers has worked on campus in various positions for the past 12 years and has been interim provost as well as vice chancellor of Academic Affairs for the past two years. Chang is currently a dean at Purdue University in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Knight is the associate vice chancellor for Undergraduate Studies at UW-Eau Claire.

Before Summers took over as interim provost, Mark Nook was provost. Summers stepped up to interim provost two years ago when Nook was asked to be interim chancellor. It is the job of the provost to act as chancellor should the current chancellor be absent, resign, or be asked to step down. In selecting a person for this job, the committee is not only searching for the new provost, but also someone who could potentially act as chancellor in the absence of Patterson.

“It’s been a real privilege to work in the position and to make a difference for students here and to move the university in a direction we need to be going,” Summers said. “I think having a knowledge of the campus is something that is important, so knowing not only who we are as an institution but also having a sense of how we might need to change.”

Each of the candidates will be appearing on campus for an open forum before the end of the month. Each will make a brief presentation followed by a question-and-answer session. Summers will have his forum on April 17 at 10 a.m., Chang on April 22 at 10:30 a.m., and Knight on April 24 at 10 a.m. The forums will be held in room 374 of the Dreyfus University Center. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.