Davies announces open forums to discuss next provost, Washington Commons project


President Davies reacts during a Central Michigan University Board of Trustees meeting Dec. 5 in the Lake Superior Room at the University Center.

In an email to students, President Bob Davies announced several upcoming opportunities for Central Michigan University and Mount Pleasant community members to voice their opinions on the next provost and the proposed Washington Commons project.

"I encourage you to attend these sessions and to come prepared not only with questions and concerns, but also suggestions and solutions," he said in the email. "Your perspective and experience matters, and we want to — and hope to — hear from you."

Meet the provost finalists

In-person and virtual open forums will be held from Feb. 25 to March 3 to provide feedback about the following five provost finalists:

Richard Rothaus

Rothaus started at CMU in 2018 as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and currently serves as interim provost. Prior to joining CMU, Rothaus worked at North Dakota University System as vice chancellor of academic and student affairs and director of academic programs. Rothaus also worked at St. Cloud State University and has held various positions within the field of archaeology.

He obtained a bachelor’s degree in English and classics from Florida State University, a master’s degree in classics from Vanderbilt University and a doctorate in history from Ohio State University.

Rothaus' open forum will be held Feb. 25 from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Abby Parrill-Baker

Parrill-Baker currently serves as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Memphis. Prior to this role, she held the role of associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as chair of the Department of Chemistry. Before the University of Memphis, she was the Lumsden-Valrance lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at Michigan State University.

Parrill-Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from CMU and earned both a master’s and doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Arizona.

Parrill-Bakers' open forum will be held Feb. 28 from 2 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Amy Thompson

Thompson currently serves as senior vice provost of academic affairs and acting dean of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Toledo. Before taking on the senior vice provost role in 2020, Thompson was vice provost of faculty affairs for two years and a professor of public health for a decade. Thompson also has held faculty positions at Kent State University, Mississippi State University and the University of Findlay.

Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree from CMU in community health and health promotion. She also earned a master’s degree in public health and a doctorate in health education from the University of Toledo.

Thompsons' open forum will be held March 1 from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Parwinder Grewal

Grewal has been at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) for the past four years — first as founding dean of the College of Sciences, then as executive vice president for research and now as special assistant to the president. Grewal was the department chair and professor of entomology and plant pathology at the University of Tennessee prior to working at UTRGV. He has also held various faculty positions at Ohio State University.

Grewal earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in plant pathology from Punjab Agricultural University in India. He also has a doctorate in zoology from Imperial College in London.

Grewals' open forum will be held March 2 from 3 p.m. to 3:50 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Nancy Mathews

Nancy Mathews has served as dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont (UVM) for the past eight years. Prior to this role, Mathews served as professor of wildlife and fisheries at UVM for nearly a decade and spent about 20 years in various faculty roles at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Penn State University and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in forest biology from the State University of New York.

Matthews' open forum will be held March 3 from 1 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Washington Commons proposal

Two town hall meetings will be held in-person and via livestream for anyone to comment on the proposed Washington Commons housing complex.

The Finance and Administrative services, Facilities Management and Office of Residence Life will join the meetings in which people are invited "to learn more about the strategic considerations for the project and to share your ideas and suggestions during the design phase" according to Davies' email.

Information for the town hall meetings: 

Thursday, Feb. 24

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

French Auditorium

Wednesday, March 2

4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Plachta Auditorium

Representatives from the involved offices also will be meeting with student leaders at the Feb. 28 Student Government Association meeting.