Provost search may be slow, but worth it in long run

After pursuing and researching the search for our next provost, we have had plenty of time to consider the efficiency of the time and resources committed. The University spent just the right amount. The cost of finding this administrator should be nothing short of $147,000 if we want to find the most qualified candidate for the position. While funding is needed in other places, especially during this economic time, we respect that the University must give priority to finding quality leadership. And this requires an investment.

It’s unfortunate that the search was suspended with the timing of former President B. Joseph White and former Chancellor Richard Herman’s resignations. However, no one could have predicted the events that unfolded in the summer in terms of ethical practices among administrators. When Former Provost Linda Katehi stepped down last spring, the University did what was required: they started looking for her replacement.

It’s unfortunate that we have to wait years before finding our provost. However, it’s better that the University finds the two top administrative positions before hiring the third. The provost should know whom he or she will directly report to on the job. The money spent on the search was not wasted money. It was just bad timing.

And when the University proceeded to look for the next provost in May, it did so in the right fashion. Both the search firm and the University search committee looked at 15 candidates.

We hope that the University opens up the search again after a president and chancellor positions are declared. There may be more qualified candidates who did not choose to apply when the search initially began. We figure the more people who apply, the more likely it is we will find the best provost to fit our University.

As the University works toward filling this position, it must not consider the option of consolidating the provost and chancellor roles. The provost oversees the academia part of student’s lives, while the chancellor oversees the University as a whole. Grouping the two positions would be detrimental to this school.

The University has a lot on its plate now: the budget and administrative vacancies. It is trying to solve both in a way that does not affect students. If the University asks a single person to juggle both jobs, we are doubtful that the end result will be favorable.

We hope that the decisions made about the future provost will be done with the student’s interest in mind.

The search begun last spring has only started off our institution on the right foot.