Three deans, provost to be hired at semester's end

Search committees are currently interviewing applicants for positions.

An extensive and unprecedented turnover in administration will leave Ball State with four fresh faces in the senior staff.

Three new deans and a new provost will be appointed following this semester. Such a turnover is unique, said history professor and Ball State historian Anthony Edmonds.

"I can't recall another year this many deans were hired," he said. "This is a major administrative turnover."

With the new administrators, the university will have five new deans, a new provost, a new president and two vice presidents, all in a three-year period. He said the turnover could entail significant changes for the university.

President Blaine Brownell said though the turnover is unusual, the administration is optimistic.

"We are hopeful that this has a positive impact on the university," Brownell said. "The turnover will bring in new leadership and build on accomplishments."

According to retiring provost Warren Vander Hill, university officials hope to have completed all dean searches by the end of this semester. They are looking for deans for the colleges of fine arts, science and humanities and applied science and technology.

Paul Mitchell, the chairman of the search committee for the fine arts dean, said campus visitation for final candidates is scheduled for late February and early March.

Mitchell said the search committee was formed at the end of summer 2001. After members were chosen, the team developed a list of requirements for a successful candidate. Some of the requirements, he said, depend on the college, though he said all applicants must have leadership qualities and experience.

Mitchell also said the committee has to search for more than a campus-oriented dean for the dean of fine arts.

"The dean must be an advocate for arts across campus and on a state and national basis in particular," he said.

Such responsibilities include the art museum and raising funds.

While Mitchell and the committee search for deans, a search for a new provost is well underway, according to Ron Johnstone, the current dean of the College of Science and Humanities.

Johnstone, who leads the committee to find the new provost, said the committee will be interviewing two of three candidates on campus this week. The third candidate will be interviewed the week of Feb. 11.

Johnstone said after the interviews, the committee will make a recommendation to the president.

The search committee is comprised of 19 members, Johnstone said. The members are representatives of individual colleges and departments.

Edmonds said the provost search is also crucial in the dean selection process.

"The new provost will have input in the hiring of the new deans," Edmonds said. "The person selected does not have an official role in the decisions now, but will probably be consulted."

For this reason, Brownell said ideally the provost will be selected before the deans.

"The evaluation involves a variety of suggestions because the provost must balance a variety of academic units," Johnstone said.

To be eligible for provost, one must have his or her doctorate and demonstrate administrative skills in higher education. The provost must also have experience as a dean of an academic college, provost or assistant provost.

The candidate must adapt to the university's strategic planning model and have similar standards for promotion of tenured faculty.

"The committees look for a provost who thinks strategically and looks to lead individual colleges and academic affairs into the future," Brownell said. "The search committees have found people with the qualifications; now they just need to determine who is best."

Among all requirements, Johnstone stressed the importance of experience.

"We're looking for someone who can pick up the ball and run with it," Johnstone said. "This is not a position where you can just learn everything you need to know."

Johnstone said a new leader means potential for new ideas.

"People are open to innovation, not radical change," he said. "We look for someone who will carry on what's going well and add new ideas and different applications."

Johnstone said these changes could raise the bar for entrance requirements and start new programs for freshman and sophomore retention.


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