Campus asked for evaluations of provost candidates

Staff Report


The search for a new provost ended Wednesday and now the campus is being asked to give their feedback.

In an email to the News, Eastern President David Glassman said it would be a couple of weeks or so before any announcements regarding the new provost.

Evaluations for each of the provost candidates can be found on the provost search webpage on Eastern’s website.

Don Holly, chair of the provost search committee, said in an email sent out to the campus that evaluations of the candidates are due by 3 p.m. Friday.

Each candidate’s CVs will be available on the provost search site.

Whoever is the new candidate will replace current Provost Blair Lord, who is retiring this summer.

In an open session with faculty and students, the first candidate, Timothy Crowley, assistant provost for academic programs and student success at Fort Hays State University in Kansas, highlighted his participation in a training program called the “Becoming a Provost Academy,” a program hosted by the Association of State Colleges and Universities that helps prepare people for handling provost duties.

He said he looks at what is happening at Eastern as the “trough of an institutional life cycle.”

“We’ve hit the low point and now is an opportunity to join an organization that is going to be on its way back up,” Crowley said in an open session with faculty and staff.

Crowley said he has helped in growth processes like this at Fort Hays State University by helping to implement a program that allowed students to take remedial courses at the same time as credit-bearing courses.

Innovation and hustle need to be part of the strategic plan to succeed, he said.

The Second candidate Jeffrey Bakken, associate provost for research and dean of the graduate school at Bradley University showed his desire for transparency in administration and collaboration during the student and faculty forums.

As a past department chair of Illinois State University, Bakken said he helped improve his department through yearly assessments and asking a few questions.

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

He was questioned on his connection to Glassman, as they both previously worked at Bradley University, but Bakken said he would set this 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 were selected as provost, he would make marketing a priority and try to bring in diverse students and faculty experts.

Third candidate Jay Gatrell, vice provost at Bellarmine University, suggested a digital humanities or digital arts program at his open session.

He also suggested making students and faculty talents more visible in the community by hosting an off-campus art show.

“Effective mission statements, as they are lived and experienced, they evolve, they change and are by definition entrepreneurial,” Gatrell said.

Another way he pinpointed to make the transition to university life easier for students was creating a centralized place for student services.

The final provost candidate, Sibdas Ghosh, dean of the School of Arts and Science at Iona College in New York, talked about how bringing different students’ cultures to Eastern would help make for a more welcoming community.

Ghosh said he wants to establish a deeper connection between faculty and students. He said he also wanted to highlight existing strengths through student, faculty, and alumni testimonies.

“How do we become distinct? It’s not that we have a lower class size or that we have this lab, that lab,” Ghosh said. “But it’s what types of programs you do have.”


The News staff can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]