Search committee for new provost narrows its scope

Seven months after the resignation of Dr. Mary Kay Tetreault from the position of provost and vice president of academic affairs, the committee charged with completing a national search for replacements has chosen its final five candidates.

PSU President Daniel Bernstine accepted Tetreault’s resignation on May 17 alongside the resignation of Dr. Jay Kenton, the vice president of finance and administration. Both resignations were effective June 30, 2004.

Since then, Dr. Michael Reardon, who served as Portland State’s provost for seven years and retired in 1999, has served as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs while the joint search committee conducted national searches to fill the two vacant positions.

On Feb. 1, Phyllis Edmundson, dean of the Graduate School of Education and chair of the provost search committee, announced that the committee had successfully narrowed its search to five candidates, each of whom "bring rich experiences, strong interest in Portland State University and potential for leadership for the next stages of Portland State’s development."

At this point in the application process the five candidates will each visit Portland State for two days starting Feb. 7 and concluding March 1. They will each attend three open forums designed to introduce the candidates to the students, faculty and community of Portland State, while simultaneously introducing PSU to the candidates. Feedback forms that will be delivered to the Office of the President of the University and summarized for consumption will be available at each of the forums.

"I can’t overemphasize the importance [of these events]," Edmundson said. "We would really like the students and faculty to attend. It’s very important that they get to know the candidates."

The provost is the chief academic officer of the university and reports directly to President Daniel Bernstine, while serving on the Executive Council developing and implementing policy that affects Portland State’s direction. In the search for a new provost, the committee received about 35 applications, each of which went through multiple levels of scrutiny.

"Some applicants didn’t meet the minimum requirements," Edmundson said of the initial applicants review.

After the initial paper review of the applications, the committee narrowed it down to between 12 and 15 applicants, each of whom were interviewed on the telephone. From there, the committee checked the references given by the nine remaining applicants.

"A subset of the committee conducted face-to-face interviews with seven candidates, off campus," Edmundson said. "[The subset] included myself, a representative of the faculty and of the staff. At each step in the process, we would take the data back to the committee and discuss it."

The announcement of the potential provosts visits on Feb. 1 marks the next step in the arduous process of choosing Portland State’s new leadership.

The five candidates
Each of the men vying for PSU?s vacant provost
spot will appear on campus for public forums.

Christopher T. Hill, George Mason University
Feb. 7-8
Currently, Christopher T. Hill is vice provost of research and professor of public policy and technology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. In 1969, Professor Hill received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

John Wanat, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Feb. 10-11
John Wanat, professor of political science, was the provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee from 2000-05. In 1972, Professor Wanat received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Roy W. Koch, Portland State University
Feb. 15-16
Roy W. Koch, professor of environmental science, was the vice provost of research and dean of Graduate Studies at Portland State University from 1992-1997. In 1982, Professor Koch received his Ph.D. in the civil engineering, hydrology and water resources program from Colorado State University.

John S. Miller, Eastern Oregon University
Feb. 17-18
John S. Miller is provost and president for academic affairs and professor of sociology at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Ore. In 1977, Professor Miller received his doctorate in sociology from the University of Oregon.

William A. Covino, Florida Atlantic University
Feb. 28-March 1
William A. Covino is dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters and professor of English at Florida Atlantic University, a multi-campus university with several campuses around Florida. In 1981, Professor Covino received his doctorate in English from the University of Southern California.