Search for new provost begins

Emma Finkbeiner

re-KerriSchuiling Courtesy NMU Communications
Kerri Schuiling

The search for a new provost and vice president for academic affairs has officially begun. After 17 years of service with Northern Michigan University, Paul Lang, the current provost, appointed in 2012, will be stepping down following this academic year.

The search committee was formed and officially announced by President Fritz Erickson on Tuesday, Oct. 7 according to Lesley Larkin, an associate English professor, who is a co-chair of the committee.

The other co-chair is Kerri Schuiling, the dean of the college of health sciences and professional studies. The co-chairs were appointed by the president in an effort to represent both the administration and faculty fairly.

“It’s a group of people who are incredibly committed to academics at Northern and so I feel very positive about the process and I think that we’re going to have a good outcome,” Larkin said. Parker Executive Search was the firm hired by the university to assist in the process. The job posting is now available for viewing on their website.

“We’re working with a company on this because, second to the president, this is really the most important search a university will do,” Schuiling said.

Ryan Crawford, a principal for Parker Executive Search, is assisting the NMU search committee throughout the process. He said the firm is helping to retain a strong and diverse group of candidates for the position and is present to make the search process smooth.

“We are off to a good start and have seen strong interest in the position from those in the higher education community,” Crawford said.

The provost is the chief academic officer of the university. The provost is responsible for providing leadership and vision for academics at NMU as well as student services and outreach activities that promote success for students, faculty and staff that align with the mission and goals of the university.

The search committee is comprised of 17 members including the co-chairs. These members include representatives from areas of campus such as the alumni board, athletics, the nursing department, the political science department, the president’s office and a wealth of others.

LeslieLarkin
Leslie Larkin

“It was really important to us that the committee, as much as possible, reflected the various parts of our university,” Schuiling said.

There is also a student representative on the committee, Danielle Schafer, a junior double major in biology and Spanish.

“It is important for a student to be involved because the provost plays a major role in student life, in regards to how the programs are run,” Schafer said. “I am very grateful that the student body has a voice on this committee, as it is an important decision for the university.” said she has learned a lot from the experience.

“It is a process involving many steps in order to ensure the best candidate is selected,” Schafer said. The committee has been formed and the job description posted. The recommended deadline for applications is Saturday, Nov. 22 and the committee anticipates to begin interviewing candidates in December.

“There are many administrative positions open just in Michigan so we do have an aggressive timeline,” Schuiling said. “We want to make sure we get ahead of the game and get the best candidates to apply.” After initial interviews are finished, a select number of candidates will visit the university early in the winter semester to go through a more extensive interview and presentation process.

Finally, the committee will choose the top three or four candidates to present to the president. The president will then make the final decision and appoint the new provost.

“It’s very, very critical that the provost and the president fit and work well together,” Schuiling said. Schuiling said she hopes the NMU community will know who has been appointed by mid- to late spring.

Throughout the process, Larkin said the committee welcomes input and feedback from the campus community. They also encourage faculty and administrators to recommend colleagues from elsewhere and pass the advertisement along.

“As the process continues we’ll keep the community informed about where we are in that process,” Larkin said. “The committee will do everything we can to hire somebody who we think will support academics at NMU.”