The search for a provost

By Emily Eiermann

Since the March announcement of Dr. Donald Steven’s upcoming retirement in 2013, Rider has been looking for a new provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. Thursday concluded the search process after the last of four finalists finished her interview.

The process was extensive, according to Dr. Todd Weber, a biology professor. In order to provide a variety of different viewpoints and allow different departments to become involved in the search, President Mordechai Rozanski put together a search committee composed of 16 faculty members from different fields, including Weber.

“I believe it was President Rozanski who invited an assortment of faculty members to represent the different areas, different disciplines on campus,” Weber said. “There was a sort of representative population on the committee, as well as representatives from the other factions on campus who have a vested interest in finding a good provost, like Student Affairs, the administration and Admissions. It was very inclusive in that regard.”

The search began in April when the university brought in Steve Leo, the vice president of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, an agency that specializes in finding executives for higher education. The firm helped craft the job description of the position, sought out qualified individuals and organized the applications before presenting them to the committee.

Once the applications were received, they were posted to a secure, private website to which only the committee members had access. The original pile of more than 100 applications dwindled to 10 in August, when the committee reconvened to narrow down the search. Those 10 were then brought to the Marriott Hotel next to the Philadelphia International Airport over a two-day span.

“We did it [that way] so that people could fly in, do the interview and get back to their jobs,” Weber said. “We interviewed solid for two days, about an hour and a half per candidate, and from our impressions from these interviews, we picked the four people who have interviewed on campus this week and last.”

Those four were Dr. David Dauwalder, Provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of New Haven; Dr. David Stern, vice president for Academic and Student Affairs and philosophy professor at Hamline University in Minnesota; Dr. Robert Prezant, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at Montclair State University and Dr. DonnaJean Fredeen, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Southern Connecticut State University.

Once on campus, the four provost potentials interviewed with different groups, including councils of deans, department chairs, various student leaders and the faculty union, allowing a good portion of the Rider community its chance to meet the candidates. They also participated in open forums, where they were given an hour to explain why they are interested in the university and what they would bring to the position. A question-and-answer session followed, after which those in the audience were encouraged to fill out reviews of the candidates online.

The decision will be made once feedback from the interviews and surveys are received.
“Whoever is chosen, I hope they have a big presence on campus with faculty and students alike,” English professor and committee member Dr. Roberta Clipper said.


Printed in the 11/16/12 edition

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