Emporia State announced the committee enlisted to find the campus’s next provost on April 1. The list comprised of 15 wide-ranging faculty members and one undergraduate student, according to the statement emailed to campus.
The provost is the second in command just below the president of the university and handles anything of a large collaborative nature and is also vice president of academic affairs, according to Gary Wyatt, interim provost and dean of the Honors College. It is extremely important that the university finds a new permanent provost so decisions can be made for the future, according to Wyatt.
“I started in 1988, I would say in 20 years there was virtually no change at all in universities, they did everything the same one year to the next,” Wyatt said. “The exact same, that’s not how we do things now and painful difficult decisions need to be made, changes in universities need to be made in moving resources and having new visions for new programs that will help us stay relevant and so a leader needs to be a visionary and needs to be somebody that can really help the university with the kinds of adaptive changes that are necessary for a university to survive.”
The search has already begun with Zoom meetings to create a job description and shape what the university is looking for in its future provost. Next, they will conduct preliminary interviews over Zoom and after they narrow the candidates down, those candidates will spend around a week on campus seeing and experiencing the ESU community. Once all of this has been done, the committee will give their suggestions to the university president and they will make the final decision, according to Abe Lemus, junior political science major and provost search committee member.
This search, just like the presidential search, will be a closed search, meaning the public will not know any of the candidates the university will be considering until the very end after most have been weeded out, according to Lauren Moon, Associated Student Government vice president and junior biology education major. While she said she wished for more transparency for the students, she understood that this was a balancing act between pros and cons.
“I think there are pros and cons to them (closed administrative searches),” Moon said. “I think the nice thing is from a job search standpoint it’s good for the people who may or may not be taking on those positions. Say you work at another university and you’re thinking of moving somewhere else or trying something different, you don’t necessarily want your current workplace to know that you’re thinking of moving because you don’t want to send off the wrong idea. Like ‘I really want to leave’ or ‘I don’t like it here,’ sometimes it’s just time for a change.”
While Lemus is the only student on this committee, his qualifications to do so are well-matched, according to Moon.
“I am pretty excited to serve on this committee, I’ve built really good relationships with the president’s office and the provost’s office when I was working with them and faculty overall,” said Lemus. “I did serve on the student senate so I built tons of relationships with students, faculty and staff. And my personal background contributes to my philosophy, as a person of color and first-generation student, I have a background that not many students have and Emporia State University is a predominantly white institution so what I am looking forward to seeing is ESU’s strategic plans to implement a high standard of being a model institution of diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Lemus also said that if any students have any questions, concerns or opinions about the search to email him at email@example.com.