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Open forums for provost search receive low attendance

The committee hopes to find new provost by July 1.


An open forum was held for the ongoing search for CMU's next executive vice president and provost on Jan. 14 in the Bovee University Center Rotunda.

In the two provost search forums open to the Central Michigan University community Jan. 14, the combined attendance was 12 faculty members.

The search advisory committee hosted open forums with search firm Witt/Kieffer, which took place from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 2-3 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Rotunda room. 

The 16-member search committee for CMU’s next provost was selected by President Robert Davies.

Faculty opinion

College of Health Professions faculty member Peter Loubert said that he would like there to be more faculty involvement and investment for the search of a new provost.

“If more faculty felt the sense of ownership and buy into the academic endeavors we’re here for, maybe we would be better represented, and I personally feel kind of disappointed,” Loubert said.

When prompted to share what they hope to see in the new provost, communication and dramatic arts faculty Elizabeth Carlson said she would like to see someone who focuses on building all of the departments.

“The water cooler talk I hear is that our previous provost really fostered the STEM disciplines, but did not do as much for anybody else,” Carlson said. “I think looking for how to foster what is working across our academic disciplines.”

Heather Polinsky, chair of the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, said she would like to have a provost who is curious and wants to be involved in everything CMU has to offer.

The faculty members agreed they would like to have a provost who is personable and really immerses themselves in the CMU and Mount Pleasant community. 

“It would be great to find another person who is as engaged and as visible as President Davies is,” said Deborah Silkwood-Sherer, director of the physical therapy program.

Polinsky said she hopes the new provost helps build the credibility of all the programs at CMU in order to help build the degree of the university as an institution.

The process

The search committee and Witt/Kieffer will take the information about desired attributes for a new provost they gather from the campus and use it to actively search for candidates. 

“In my mind, the candidate we are looking for doesn’t know that he or she wants a job, we have to find them and tell them how great CMU is and how great they are so they want to apply,” said search committee co-chair Richard Rothaus, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Science.

The committee plans to reach out to qualified people asking if they have thought about applying for the position, in addition to running a job advertisement.

“We want to have a new provost found and in place by July 1,” Rothaus said. 

Those who were unable to attend either open forum may submit their input to or anonymously submit comments to the online form on the  provost search website.