Alan White believes research, hands-on learning opportunities and clear standards for faculty members are key when running a university.
White is the first of three candidates being considered for the provost position and participated in an open forum Tuesday during which he outlined the course of action he’d take if chosen to replace Provost Gary Shapiro when he retires at the end of the academic year.
He talked about his eight years of experience as dean of the Thomas Harrior College of Arts and Sciences and professor of biology at East Carolina University, as well as his time spent at North Dakota State University, where he served 17 years as the chair of the department of botany, worked as a professor of botany and eventually became the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.
“NDSU was my first experience with administration work, and I really enjoyed it,” White said.
Through his science background, White is a firm believer in hands-on activities as a learning tool. In the classroom, he wants to continue encouraging active learning and the use of resources for research.
“I don’t think there’s any way better to learn than to just do it,” White said.
White said CMU would be a good fit for him because of the overlapping of profiles from his other employers.
“What drew me to CMU was the overlap of the profiles at ECU and NDSU,” White said.
White spoke of his experience working at a university with a medical college and his experience of aiding in the opening of the School of Dental Medicine at ECU. He said the opening of the College of Medicine at CMU is something he is excited to watch develop, should he become provost.
As for faculty and department curriculums, White said having clear standards is important to success.
“It is important to have a standard that everyone agrees to,” White said. “Should these standards change, that’s OK, but it’s important to have a standard in place.”
White said he wants to work with faculty to fairly divide their time between teaching, conducting research and performing other services.
“I want to sit with the department chairs as they explain the amount of responsibility each faculty has. This is important, because not all faculty are equal in research, teaching and service time,” he said.
White explained that if a faculty member is doing more research, the amount of classes they teach should be reduced, and vice versa.
Open forums for finalists Karen Schmailing and Michael Gealt will be held April 18 and April 24, respectively, at 4 p.m. in the Ausable Room of the Bovee University Center.