Timothy Crowley, currently the assistant provost of Fort Hays State University in Kansas, will be the first of four candidates interviewing to be Eastern’s next provost.
The new provost would replace Provost Blair Lord, who is retiring this summer.
An open session for students to meet Crowley is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday in the Arcola-Tuscola Room, followed by one for faculty at 2 p.m. in the same place.
The open session with staff is scheduled for 11:05 a.m. Friday in the Charleston-Mattoon room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.
Eastern President David Glassman said that although he has not interviewed the candidates yet, he is optimistic about the possibility of the new provost being among the final ones.
“I will be interviewing and learning more about each candidate during their time on campus,” Glassman said. “I know that the search committee is very pleased with our group of finalists.”
Glassman said while he already met the candidates briefly, he looks forward to getting to know them further.
The provost search committee conducted interviews and selected the candidates who were invited to come to campus.
Glassman said many qualities are essential to becoming the provost the university needs; however, if he had to choose a single quality the provost must have, it would be strong passion.
“A provost with strong passion will tirelessly strive to seek solutions to achieve our university’s strategic goals and vision,” Glassman said.
Although Crowley is from out of the state, Glassman said he as well as any other out-of-state candidates are well aware of the budget crisis and the challenges that come with it.
“I do not believe it will affect their ability to be successful in their role as Eastern’s provost regardless if they are from Illinois or another state,” Glassman said. “Decreasing state support and other financial challenges have unfortunately become a part of the higher education environment in many states, and administrators have had to learn to adjust to the situation.”.
Glassman said he hopes the interviews “lead to the selection of an outstanding new provost for EIU who will lead our academic affairs division to achieving greater success while fostering an environment of collaboration, inclusiveness, shared governance and excellence.”
Don Holly, chair of the provost search committee, which has been meeting since the fall of 2016, said he hopes to find a new provost who is the right fit for Eastern’s community.
“We’re working with the Witt/Kieffer search firm, which serves as a central location for receiving applications,” Holly said. “They handled recruiting, helped with advertising and getting a pool of candidates.”
After reviewing nearly 30 applications the committee narrowed the applicants down to eight semifinalists, who they interviewed in Champaign, Holly said.
Of these, only four were chosen to come to Eastern for on-campus interviews.
“A lot of what separated finalists from the rest is experience,” Holly said. “As a provost, you need experience in a lot of different areas. At EIU, we’re a unionized school, so we look for people who have experience dealing with collective bargaining.”
Holly said experience in student affairs, leadership positions, enrollment management and supervising faculty are also important.
Catie Witt, the student representative on the provost search committee, said students need to play a role in helping this search by attending the student forum meetings with the candidates.
There will be an evaluation form up on the provost search website to fill out after the forum to rate each candidate, Witt said.
Witt said the countrywide search proved effective in finding highly qualified candidates.
“Three of the finalists are from out of state and one is from Illinois,” Witt said. “My two top candidates were selected for interviews so that is very exciting.”
As for Crowley, Witt said she clearly remembers something that stood out about him during his interview in Champaign.
“He attended something that was like a leadership training conference about learning how to handle the duties of provost,” Witt said. “This initiative shows his drive to become a provost who is fully prepared to handle all the duties that come along with that responsibility.”
Catie Witt said this process was sort of similar to the one used when hiring Glassman. She said she has confidence that the new provost is among these candidates and will make a smooth transition when taking the role in the fall of 2017.
Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]