During his first Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 9, President Gary Miller proposed a plan to begin a confidential national search for a new Executive Vice President and Provost at The University of Akron.
This proposal, which was approved by the BOT, would combine the currently split structure within the Office of Academic Affairs and create a search committee of different campus members and leaders.
Less than a week after the BOT approved the search proposal, President Miller sent out an announcement through The Digest regarding the formation of the search committee; which will be chaired by Dr. Paul Levy.
Dr. Levy, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, has been a member of UA for 30 years and is nationally recognized as a scholar and author in his field, President Miller said in the Oct. 14 announcement.
In a special Zipmail entry on Oct. 18, the search committee invited members of the campus community to listening sessions to gain insight on what qualities are important to have in the next Provost.
The two sessions will take place on Friday, Oct. 25. One will be in Zook Hall, room 108, from 10 to 11 a.m. The other will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. in room 180 of the McDowell Law Center.
“Both sessions are open to the whole campus community. The attendees will dictate how the sessions differ – that is, what information they share and/or questions they ask will be our focus,” Dr. Levy said.
One goal in having these sessions before confidential meetings begin is to give campus members a way to share ideas and information on what should be looked for in the next Provost.
For students who are unsure of what a Provost is at an American university, Dr. Levy said they are the person who runs the academic portion with the Deans and Chairs of each college.
“While the President is like the CEO (Chief Executive Officer), the Provost is like the COO (Chief Operating Officer) or the person who runs the university on a day-to-day basis,” Dr. Levy said.
This means that the deans of each college, such as the College of Arts and Sciences, report to the Provost. The Provost then takes the information from those reports to set the tone of academics offered by the university.
Currently, the duties of Executive Vice President and Provost are divided among Dr. Chand Midha; Interim Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer, and Dr. Rex Ramsier; Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer.
Dr. Midha or Dr. Ramsier will not be candidates for the position. However, they will stay in their positions during the search process to “maintain stability during the transition,” a Zipmail announcement said.
Members of the campus community are encouraged to attend one of these listening sessions not only because this is an important hire for UA, but also because this gives them a direct opportunity to participate in the search.
“The sessions will allow folks to share their ideas and it’s always helpful to listen to each other and learn from each other,” Dr. Levy said. “The committee will also provide a brief overview of the process which the whole campus should hear and understand.”
For those who are unable to attend one of the sessions, there is an online survey available regarding the important qualities within the next Executive Vice President and Provost.
Collecting all input confidentially, this survey will remain active through Oct. 25.
“We are a university community and our university is a strong and vibrant one – strong vibrant communities come together and around important things and this is an important thing,” Dr. Levy said.