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.”
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.