Provost search continues

Murray State’s campus will be visited by four potential provost candidates to fill Bonnie Higginson’s soon-to-be vacant position.

The candidates are current Murray State associate provost of graduate studies, Jay Morgan; Charles McAdams, dean of the college of arts and sciences at Northwest Missouri State; Bahman Ghorasi, current executive director of Fenn Academy and Fenn Research and Development Institute at Cleveland State and Brenda Nichols, dean of the college of arts and sciences at Lamar University in Texas.

The finalist will be continuing their evaluation at Murray State on April 2-3, 4-5, 8-9 and 11-12 respectively. An open forum will be held for faculty with each candidate on the first day of each of their visits in the Freed Curd Auditorium.

Another forum and presentation will be held for the entire campus community following the faculty forum in Wrather West Kentucky Museum Auditorium.

The 17-member committee appointed by President Randy Dunn has worked since December to whittle down the number of prospective applicants from 84, to the four now remaining. This committee includes representatives from every academic college and school as well as a number of other campus organizations.

Jack Rose, professor of Education and chair of the search committee, said the large size of the committee was beneficial in allowing for a large amount of the University’s constituent’s opinions to be represented.

“Dunn did an excellent job getting the cross section of the University represented,” Rose said. “We have a student on the committee; we have a dean, as well as faculty. It was very representative of the community.”

The committee advertised the available provost position in The Chronicle of Higher Education in December, before promoting the opening through various websites. The deadline for applications was March 1.

Applications were then evaluated according to a matrix designed by the committee, to analyze candidates’ experience in program development, their record of teaching and scholarly achievements, their academic leadership and their commitment to diversity and equality, among other criteria.

This evaluation allowed the committee to narrow down the number of initial candidates to eight applicants, who were then interviewed via Skype on March 8, 11 and 13. After the preliminary interviews, the committee was able to reduce the number to the four remaining finalists based on applicant’s performance in their interviews.

Dunn, who will make the final decision of who will become provost, said he is highly appreciative of the commitment and work completed thus far by the committee; particularly chair Rose.

“Rose has provided outstanding leadership as the committee’s chair, and the campus couldn’t ask for a more successful and timely performance from a search committee to this point,” Dunn said.

Dunn and Rose said they were happy with the results, especially considering the University did not pay for or receive help from any outside consulting firms.

Although Higginson’s resignation as provost does not go into effect until June 30, Rose said one of his main concerns right now is staying on schedule with the applicant interviews so they can have an appointed provost by the middle of April, or as soon there after as possible.

Higginson plans on remaining at Murray State as a professor in the College of Education.

Story by Ben Manhanke, Staff writer.