by Tom Galaraga
With Bill Cook stepping down from the position of academic vice president this past July, the University of La Verne is left searching for a replacement.
Cook, who is now part of the English and literature department, returned to the classroom and is currently on sabbatical.
“Last year, Bill decided to return to the faculty after a number of years and significant accomplishments as vice president for academic affairs,” Jean Bjerke, vice president of University Relations said. “It is not all unusual for a dean or vice president to serve a number of years in an administrative position, and then decided to return to faculty.”
Acting as temporary provost is Robert Neher, who will step down as provost as soon as the selection committee has selected a suitable replacement. Neher is a professor of biology.
The selection committee, which was selected from various faculty members, was chosen by President Stephen Morgan in order to best represent the interests of the University.
“There is one large committee, about 27 administrators and faculty that are in charge of the process,” said Ray Garubo, professor of public administration, “These people represent all segments of the University and is chaired by President Morgan himself.”
Morgan has also employed the executive firm Morgan Samuels Company to aid in the search for the new provost.
The job of this outside firm is to screen applicants from a national level for the specific criteria and qualifications that the University requires. The firm has also placed advertisements in publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications, which according to Garubo, feature minority professionals.
Alberto M. Pimentel of Morgan Samuels Company will serve as the outside consultant that will represent the firm and its efforts to find a replacement.
After screening applicants, resumes will be sent to the selection committee for further review.
After narrowing the applicants down, interviews are to be conducted and ultimately a new provost is to be chosen.
However, according to Philip Hawkey, executive vice president, the final decision is left up to Morgan.
The new academic vice president and provost will serve as the chief academic officer of the University, and will be equal in rank to the executive vice president.
“For our students this is a very important job,” said Garubo. “The provost hears all student appeals on matters pertaining to academic issues that come from the respective deans of the schools.”
The future provost and academic vice president will also have the responsibility of working with the deans of the University in order to develop a consolidated academic budget that will reflect the priorities and strategic plans of the University.
Further responsibilities will also include the planning and implementation of academic programs, and also to serve as adviser to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees.
“The provost and myself work with the president and two other vice presidents; vice president of University Relations which is development, fundraising and relationships with supporters of the University, and the vice president of enrollment management,” said Hawkey.
Garubo reported that Pimentel believes that the committee will be ready to begin interviews after Jan. 1, and will have the position filled by the end of the academic year.
In order to meet the education criteria for the position, applicants must have earned a doctorate from an accredited institution, and must also be eligible to receive the rank of full professor at the University.
Further criteria include an understanding of the legal environment of higher education, and also require experience with human resource management. A strong commitment to the mission of the University is also part of the criteria.
Hawkey anticipates that there will be no problems or conflicts during the transition from temporary provost and academic vice president to that of a full-time faculty member.
With Neher currently filling the position, Hawkey believes that it is Neher’s “integrity and willing[ness] to make decisions,” that will allow for the transition process to proceed without any problems.
“The student body will not notice any cosmetic effects but will certainly appreciate the person for whom all academic matters are decided,” said Garubo.
With Neher temporarily filling the position of provost and academic vice president, Hawkey anticipates that students will not experience negative effects as a result of the transition period.