Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Provost search update

Laura Dreuth Zeman of Social Work and Women's Studies has an important op-ed in today's DE on the Provost Search.  It sounds like the main function of the search committee was to forward applicants to the Chancellor, rather than to select among candidates, though apparently two of the original six applicants either dropped out or were eliminated somehow or other. The DE's Monday story on the four finalists can be found here; the Southern story (which contains info on the open forums for the candidates) can be found here.

For what it's worth, six candidates doesn't strike me as that paltry a number, given the qualifications required for this post, and the fact that this is an internal search--all we could manage following the Minish debacle. Surely that debacle rather reduced the attractions of this stressful if well remunerated position.  The finalists do all have at least some administrative experience.  Whether that experience has been successful, and whether they have the other qualities to serve in this rather important job is of course another question, and if Laura is right the committee was not given a terribly meaningful opportunity to weigh in on these matters, leaving the decision entirely in the Chancellor's hands.    


  1. The search for a new Provost in this current clime is a PURE_WASTE of time, money and energy. I recommend that Chancellor Cheng wear both hats! We already have one person serving as two Deans, and there are other similar situations on campus as well--even at the departmental level. I say let us combine the position of Chancellor and Provost. After all an important requirement for the job was that the Provost and the Chancellor see eye to eye. It would be near impossible to go against oneself. And given the financial constraints, this would be one way the University could save a lot of money.

  2. When this is what "shared governance" looks like, why would we waste our time on university committees?

  3. To my paranoid friend: Well, by publicizing the (apparent) abuse of the process, Laura has made it a bit harder for the Chancellor to do as she wishes. Cf. Randy Auxier's letter in today's (4/22) DE, linked to in a subsequent post. Sometimes one has to speak out to make shared governance work. I wouldn't say shared governance is working here, but if we keep speaking up there will be more of it--if only because administrators will, at least on occasion, decide that the right thing to do is also the easiest thing to do: follow the recommendations of faculty committees.

  4. Dave,

    So far, speaking out on this issue doesn't appear to have done much to change behavior.

    From a letter to the editor in today's DE about a different search:
    "Secondly, and perhaps most troubling, was the recommendation’s paternalistic disregard of the screening committee which represented individuals who were deeply involved with the resource center and GLBT community."

    Read more:


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