Second provost candidate aims for transparency and collaboration

Chrissy Miller, Administration Reporter

The second provost candidate, Jeffrey P. Bakken, showed his desire for transparency in administration and collaboration during the student and faculty forums.

Bakken got his master’s and doctorate in special education from Purdue University. Currently, Bakken is the associate provost for Bradley University. He said he has not worked with a union before.

In his role as Department Chair at Illinois State University, Bakken said he helped improve his department through yearly curriculum assessment. He said these assessments centered around a few simple questions.

“How are students doing? Do they know what they should know? What’s missing from their knowledge base and skills base?” Bakken said.

Bakken said the data from these assessments helped reveal what changes needed to be made. He said that providing faculty support was also a crucial part of making the university run efficiently

“I initiated a lot of programs for new faculty, mentorship programs, and support programs to help faculty be successful,” Bakken said. “My feeling was that if faculty were successful, then the students themselves would be successful as well.”

Jack Cruikshank, a political science graduate student, said he questioned Bakken’s previous and current relationship with Eastern President David Glassman, who was the provost over Bakken at Bradley University for three years.

“That is a problem on campus right now, as well, with that kind of consolidation of power, who’s in charge of what,” Cruikshank said. “If you were to get the position, there are going to be lots of questions about that to you, ‘Is he just a yes man?’ that kind of thing.”

Bakken said on campus he would be able to put any outside connection to Glassman aside to focus on his professional role as provost in this community.

“My role is to advocate for students, to advocate for faculty, to advocate for resources,” Bakken said. “I’m not opposed to him disagreeing with me, then I just need to work harder to make him come to a consensus.”

Bakken said if he was selected as provost, he would make marketing a priority and try to bring in diverse students and faculty experts.

“What I found at Bradley was are numbers were low because we weren’t doing any recruiting, we weren’t doing any marketing whatsoever,” Bakken said. “Well yeah they’re going to be low, people are just going to have to stumble upon things to find stuff. You have to promote the programs if you want students to come.”

English professor C.C. Wharram said he saw Bakken in a meeting earlier that day and heard him talk about the importance of everyone seeing the university as a whole rather than just as individual departments.

“In your role as a provost, you’d have certain institutional barriers that would separate you from us on-the-ground faculty who aren’t chairs or deans,” Wharram said. “There are those kind of barriers between the kind of transparency you like to articulate and how you would be able to interact with faculty.”

Wharram said he was curious to see how Bakken would implement the transparency he spoke of.

Bakken emphasized faculty voices and said a provost without faculty would be nothing. Bakken suggested possibly putting an online feedback system for faculty in place or having an open forum for faculty.

“I don’t know whether it would be, I’d have to look at the climate here, what people are more comfortable with,” Bakken said.

Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].