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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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Eastern interviews interim provost for position

Cam’ron Hardy
Ryan Hendrickson during the open interviews in Buzzard Auditorium. He is one out of four candidates for provost position Thursday morning.

After Eastern President Jay Gatrell was elected, the provost position has technically been vacant, but Ryan Hendrickson has been holding the interim position for the last seven months. 

Hendrickson is one of four candidates looking to officially fill the provost position, interviewing in an open interview for the position last Thursday. He has been working at Eastern since 1999. 

While in the interim provost position, he was able to give $20,000 to the faculty development and innovation center, which allowed for 20 $1,000 scholarships to be given out. 

“I was so pleased, but a little disappointed in a way, that we had 20 plus applications, so we awarded almost everybody,” Hendrickson said. 

One of the things he wants to focus on, if elected, would be offering degrees that bring in a variety of different learners. 

At the latest board of trustees meeting, it was announced that three new academic programs were approved, including a master’s in special education and two applied arts and sciences bachelor’s degrees: applied engineering and emergency management. 

Connectively, he wants to manage to keep students at Eastern as well. He understands that there are a number of places that a student can go. While this is a focus, decreasing the DFW rate is also something that Hendrickson wants to focus on. The DFW rate refers to the letter grades, D and F, as well as withdrawing from classes. 

There was a new plan to help diminish the rate at the spring update, given by Gatrell. 

As far as accessible academic support systems for students, Hendrickson said that quantitative literacy– the ability to interpret numerical information and apply it– is something that he would be interested in. He talked about students being able to take classes in quantitative literacy in humanities and public health. 

Additionally, he said the alert system has not been adapted by faculty members. The alert system refers to students being notified by the teacher if they have been missing numerous classes early in the academic school year. 

He thinks enforcing the system will allow students to feel motivated to come to class. 

“That’s where I see opportunities from the role of provost,” Hendrickson said. “To talk about this and to continue to advance what we have and the resources we have to ensure that those students are getting attention.” 

He said that there is a cultural difference as to why students may not be coming to class. High school and college are different environments and cultures, which may result in students not being on par as to where they need to be, Hendrickson said. 

Mental health was also something that Hendrickson wants to focus on more if elected provost. 

Hendrickson once served as dean during his 25-year career at Eastern, and, during that time, he worked on having students work on their mental health.  

He worked with the graduate student advisory council to provide the Headspace app for students, which is an app that helps manage stress. He worked with Vice President of Student Affairs Anne Flaherty on letting students know about the app. 

At one point, roughly 100 students used the app, but that number has dropped down to around 40 students, and Hendrickson said he would want to work on bringing that number up. 

The next provost open interview will be for Simone Cummings on Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. at Doudna Fine Arts Center in the Recital Hall. 


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 


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Cam’ron Hardy
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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