Story by Paige Effinger, Contributing writer
The second forum for the position of provost and vice president of academic affairs was held April 13 for Mark Arant.
Arant currently works as the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. Previously Arant worked at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Arant earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Louisiana Tech University and later earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Alabama.
In 2010 Arant completed the Institute for Management and Leadership in Higher Education from Harvard University.
Arant addressed the importance of libraries on campus. He said that libaries are essential to building the academic environment.
“In a lot of places the library is the geographical and philosophical center of the institution,” Arant said.
Despite having technology readily accessible through cell phones, the philosophy of the library is still there, and Arant said it fosters a positive environment for students and offers them a meeting place to discuss academia.
Arant then addressed how liberal arts programs are “pushed aside” in comparison with science, engineering, technology and mathematics programs.
“First hand, I am right now not using any of the chemistry education I own,” Arant said. “I am using most of the liberal education I have.”
He said that as people are becoming more technological, businesses are finding that people are losing their ability to communicate. He said liberal arts cannot falter, but as with every department on campus, they have to stay current.
“If we are going to sustain the growth of liberal arts, we have to adjust to make sure it stays there,” Arant said.
When asked about the importance of grants and sponsor programs, Arant said grants can be an essential part of the revenue at a university to maintain research. He said grants are useful for engaging students in a new way and to get funding for them to explore new ideas.
As provost, Arant said he would support grants by making sure the faculty has the support and services they need to make grant writing successful and by making sure that produce some form of matching monetary support for successful grants.
“In order for us to continue to progress as an institution, we have to seek other ways to sustaining money to make sure we fulfill our mission,” Arant said.
Lastly, Arant spoke about ways he has opened channels of communication with his staff and students.
He said he meets with the SGA president regularly at his current institution Northeastern State University to address any problems the students are having, and meets with SGA leadership who work on policies to assist them.