Provost search nearing completion

David Taintor

Finalists for the UW-Eau Claire Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs position will be coming to campus beginning Monday.

Six candidates from all over the country will hold open campus forums during their visit, based on how they propose to move forward with the university’s centennial plan in current economic times.

Dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences and Chair of the committee Gail Scukanec said the Provost Search and Screen Committee formed last September after the departure of Steve Tallant, the university’s former provost.

The committee is composed of 14 members from different colleges, academic staff and students.

“It’s a fairly good representation of the . academic university,” Scukanec said.

The provost position deals with courses, programs and academic faculty, Scukanec said.

When the committee began its search for a replacement, Scukanec said they looked for certain qualities in a new future provost.

“(They have to be) a leader, somebody who has experience as an academic leader . we’re looking for somebody who is interested in an inclusive university environment, a place where we value collaboration and innovation and academia, and where we care about students,” she said.

In order to find a person that fit those qualities, Scukanec said a national advertisement was put out and the committee received more than 50 applications. Then, the interviewing process narrowed the field.

Each committee member looked over all the applications and decided who would be best suited based on qualifications. After that, Scukanec said the committee held teleconference interviews with the 11 candidates.

Following the interviews, the number shrunk to eight and eventually six after the committee contacted references.

The purpose of the visits, Scukanec said, is for the campus to meet and interact with as many people as possible because of their duties as provost.

“A provost interacts with lots of individuals on the campus,” she said. “They certainly work for the chancellor . but he or she will work with the deans, the chairs and the students.”

It also helps to find out who the committee thinks would be the best candidate, Scukanec said, as well as helping the candidate decide if they would be a good fit for the school.

“It sort of gives us a chance to interview one another,” she said.

The open campus forums for each of the candidates and university Web site provide opportunities for feedback to the committee.

“What we’re asking everybody to do, all those that interact with the candidates in any kind of meeting or forum, to please go on the Web (site) and fill out the evaluation,” she said. “That’s the best way for the committee to get information from the most people.”

After the six candidates come to campus, Scukanec said the committee will make a recommendation to the chancellor of three people who would be a good fit for the university, perhaps by mid-March.

Scukanec said she assumes the new provost will start in the summer.

To find more information including a curriculum vitae and letter of application for the candidates, check out the Web site: