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Hunt for new provost continues on campus

During the 2011 spring semester, Drake University announced it would be taking action to hire a new provost. As of now, the position has not been filled. However, students and faculty need not be worried, as the hunt for a new provost is underway and on schedule.

Review of applications for the new provost will begin in October, explained Mark Vitha, associate professor of chemistry at Drake and chairman of the provost search committee. The search committee was formed during the summer and consists of 16 members that represent a wide array of campus interests. Also on the committee are Dr. R. Stanton Hales, a hired consultant from Academic Search, Inc., President David Maxwell and Executive Assistant to the President, Linda Ryan. Maxwell said in an email that the committee was chosen with consultation from the Faculty Senate and the President’s Cabinet, and he also said “our goal was to ensure that we had broad-based campus representation.”

The responsibility of the provost search committee is to review applications and consult with Maxwell about which candidates it believes would make the most successful provost.

Once all applications are reviewed, select candidates are invited to campus to be interviewed. These visits will happen in early December, during which each candidate will meet with a number of faculty members as well as the Student Senate.

Maxwell noted that there will be at least one open forum in which students will be invited to attend. After these visits are completed, the search will enter its final phase of decision-making.

“It is our hope that we will have offered the position to our top candidate —  and that she or he has accepted —  by winter break or shortly thereafter,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said he hopes the process will be completed and a new provost will be hired sometime in January. He confirmed that the new provost will begin the job in June 2012. If the academic year of the provost’s current institution lasts longer, then the new provost would begin at Drake in July instead of June.

Susan Wright has been acting as interim provost in the meantime. The provost is the chief academic officer of the university and is “responsible for coordinating that all things relating to students’ academic experience and co-curriculum goes forward,” according to Wright. One such example would be the implementation of a J-Term, as decided last school year. Wright also said that all of the administration works together to move such programs forward.

“We’re all here to provide a Drake education and fulfill the Drake mission, and we need to do so collaboratively,” Wright said. This also applies to students, as Student Life representatives report directly to the provost.

To ensure that students are involved in this process, student representatives have been included in the search committee. However, both Vitha and Maxwell wish to encourage all students to be an active part in choosing the new provost.

“We want to encourage campus to be involved and provide input when opportunities arise,” Vitha said. “The more involvement the campus has and the more input the committee can receive, the more likely the president can make a successful selection for the campus.”

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