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Provost search committee picks three finalists

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Des Delgadillo
Online Editor

The University’s nationwide search for a new provost reached the home stretch, with a final pool of three candidates set to hold open forums at ULV starting next week.

Once concluded, the candidate selected will assume the permanent position of chief academic officer, currently held by Jonathan Reed in the interim who was formerly the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

President Devorah Lieberman will ultimately make the final decision on the new provost, but not before a series of open forums and meet-and-greet sessions that encourage feedback on all three candidates.

“It is such an important decision for all of us,” Lieberman said. “It’s very important that people who have questions or comments can interact with the candidates, because we want to have the best candidates at the end of the day.”

The three finalists are Catherine Koverola, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences at Lesley University; Ramon Torrecilha, former provost and vice president of academic affairs at California State University Dominguez Hills; and Jonathan Reed, who has served as Interim Provost since Greg Dewey stepped down last December.

“At this point I cannot say who’s the best,” Lieberman said. “I have to go through this whole process, weigh everything, and then make a decision.”

The Provost search started at the end of the spring semester when Lieberman and the Faculty Senate appointed a 12-person committee and hired an outside consulting firm called Turner Consulting to facilitate the search. The committee consisted of representatives for various groups on campus, including the Faculty Senate, Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, and representatives from each of the four colleges.

The committee met sporadically over the summer until they narrowed the candidate pool down to five, at which point the five met with the committee for confidential interviews.

This set of interviews was kept confidential because those who did not make it to the final pool could lose credibility with their universities, Lieberman said.

“The committee’s work is now finished. They did a beautiful job,” she said. “Anybody who wants to meet with these candidates has an opportunity.”

In addition to meeting with students and faculty, finalists must also meet with the deans of the university’s respective colleges as part of the final round of the search.

“I probably have the same exposure to the candidates as anybody else at this point,” said Felicia Beardsley, interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “As a student, you want somebody who’s approachable. You want somebody who will interact with you, who won’t shut the door on you. You want an ear. You want an advocate for your needs and your programs. That means an incorporation of students within the decision-making process.”

Another important factor to consider is how long a provost sticks around.

“Over the last eight years or so there have been several provosts and interim provosts, and when you have that kind of instability it makes it a little bit harder to move forward at a significant pace on important initiatives,” Associate Provost Beatriz Gonzalez said. “It’s going to be great for the University to have stable leadership in academic affairs.”

Candidates will be meeting students from 11:15-11:45 a.m. Nov. 3, 5 and 10 in Leo’s Den in the Campus Center, followed by a live streaming open forum from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Campus Center Ballroom B C and D.

Des Delgadillo can be reached at desmond.delgadillo@laverne.edu.

Correction
In the original version of the story “Provost search committee picks three finalists” (Oct. 31), the job title of provost candidate Ramon Torrecilha was misstated. He is the former provost of California State Dominguez Hills, not the current provost. The Campus Times regrets the error.

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