Deborah Balogh retired from her position at the University of Indianapolis as Vice President and Provost at the end of May. Following her retirement, President Robert Manuel asked David Wantz, who now serves as Interim Executive Vice President and Provost, to take over Balogh’s position while they search for a permanent candidate.
An academic provost is the university’s chief academic officer and “responsible for the creation and implementation of the academic priorities for the university and for the allocation of resources that will support those priorities,” according to Northern Michigan University’s website.
In some cases, Manuel said especially at smaller campuses, it is typical for the provost to be the university’s vice president as well.
“The vision for intellectual life, for the experiences you have as a student, are all usually led by a provost,” Manuel said. “An academic and executive vice president is somebody that then takes those and works with [the] cabinet and [the] board on issues of finance and marketing. It’s usual that in an institution our size, that somebody be both so they can be in both conversations.”
With Balogh’s retirement and Wantz filling in as interim, the search for a new provost has begun. UIndy has partnered with Korn Ferry, a national search firm that specializes in helping universities find and match with potential candidates. Before beginning this partnership, Manuel hosted four or five open house meetings with faculty and staff to gather information and find out more about what they want in the next provost. Manuel intended to discover what the faculty wants the provost to do, what opportunities the faculty wants the provost to have and what direction the faculty wants to give the new provost.
After completing the open house meetings, the search firm came into action. Manuel then created a search committee, consisting mostly of faculty and some administrators, to perform the actual screening process for the university. He said they are expecting to recieve around 200 resumes. Once the search firm and committee have determined four or five finalists, Manuel will have them come to campus to meet with students.
Until a decision is made, Wantz said he wants students to focus on what they came here to do.
“Students should know that while I’m in this chair their professors will be able to focus on the thing they do best, which is teaching,
research and service,” he said. “Students should know they can focus on the thing that they are called here to do, which is to learn. And that the search process will yield someone who will fit with our campus culture, who will be able to lead us in [the] creative academic enterprise … and who will absolutely further our mission and make us stronger.”
Wantz also would like to make the transition between his interim position and the new provost a smooth one.
“I want to turn over to the next provost a campus that is flexible, optimistic and eager. So in some ways, I am the encourager-in-chief,” he said. “These have been my colleagues for 35 years. I care what happens to them, and I care what happens to this campus.”
Manuel said that students should be interested in meeting the finalists on campus and becoming part of this process because this change is going to affect them the most.
Other goals for Wantz include helping the university to be ready to receive a new provost and helping the candidate be successful in his or her new position on campus.
“We are here to advance knowledge, and that’s what this provost will do,” Wantz said. “He or she will help the institution advance knowledge and prepare students for rewarding careers and faithful service.”