Search for Provost and Academic Vice President brings candidates to campus

Overview of the selection process and what the Provost’s role entails.
Joleigh Martinez
Joleigh Martinez

Over the past two weeks, NMU has hosted three candidates for the open Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs position at the university. Candidates toured campus and met with several students, faculty and staff during their campus visit.

The final candidates are Kenneth Sumner (Associate Provost and acting Dean of The Graduate School at Montclair State University), William Ehmann (Higher Education Consultant) and Anne Dahlman (Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean of Global Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato). 

The candidate who is chosen to serve as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs will oversee program development and modification, and further the advancement of the university through fundraising, grants and partnerships. The Provost also provides faculty recruitment, support, development and promotion, among other things regarding university faculty.   

“They are responsible for the academic integrity of an institution, so [it is a] very important position. All of those things are kind of shepherded through the provost office, so [it is a] huge job,” said Carol Johnson, chair of the provost search committee and Dean and Department Head of the College of Business. 

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The search committee comprised of 11 members received over 70 applications for the open position, interviewing eight of them over Zoom, with the three finalists being brought to the university. 

The search committee was tasked with finding the most diverse pool of applicants as possible. Three things the committee was looking for in their search was experience in higher education, a vision for the university, and the ability to align with President Brock Tessman.  

Probably most important, is that [the provost] would be somebody that the President feels there’s some type of an alignment with. They have to have the same values as we do in terms of our mission [and] our vision. President Tessman is developing a team, and there has to be some alignment with what he’s thinking,” Johnson said. “A provost is going to look at our processes, and sometimes an external look at them is a good thing because they come in with no biases.”

The search committee will reconvene on Monday, Dec. 11, to put together a list of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. This feedback will be forwarded to President Tessman and he will make the final choice in who he would like to make an offer to. This decision is anticipated by the end of 2023, with the selected candidate being appointed as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs on Jan. 1, 2024.  

“It’s important that we move swiftly because these are highly sought after folks, we don’t want to lose anybody,” Johnson said. “[The search committee is] a great team and I think we’re gonna yield a good provost.” 

The NMU community is able to submit feedback for the candidates online on the Provost and Academic Vice President Search page through Dec. 8 at 5 p.m.

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