Provost candidates to be announced soon

BY NINA EARNEST | APRIL 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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Candidates for the University of Iowa’s provost position will begin visiting campus within “a week or so,” UI President Sally Mason told the Staff Council at its meeting Wednesday.

The announcement came in response to a question about the administration’s priorities for “stabilizing” the provost position. The post was left vacant when Wallace Loh left the UI after only two years to become president of the University of Maryland last August.

Mason said she is pleased with the four candidates.

She formed a search committee in November 2010 and reviewed candidates in March.

Candidates will visit the university one at a time, Mason said, and officials will announce each name shortly before the visit.

Mason said Loh’s early departure showed the administration made a good choice in hiring him. The interim position has since been held by former College of Engineering Dean P. Barry Butler.

“I think most people have more concerns than I do,” Mason said.

Now, the president said she was looking for the person best suited to lead the campus.

“That’s really what the provost does,” she said. “In the upcoming years, as we face challenges of the economic mess and recovering fully from the flood. Those two things are still the foremost things on my mind.”

Mason followed the provost announcement by addressing current budget concerns. The president said the administration is still waiting to see how the state legislature will decide to set the budget, but revenue projections are going in a positive direction.

“I think we still have a bit of a rough road for another year or two, but it won’t be nearly as rough as it’s been,” she told the council members.

Mason said officials cut or keep graduate programs based, among other things, on their recognition in the academic community.

“Can we afford to be everything to everyone?” she said. “We know the answer to the last question is no, obviously.”

Mason also discussed flood recovery, the 21-ordinance, tuition increases, and retention rates — which increased four percent this year, she said.

Michael Schueller, overseeing his first meeting as staff council president, said Mason’s willingness to speak and take questions from the floor helped voice council concerns.

“That ability to communicate stands out,” Schueller said.

Susan Buckley, the vice president for Human Resources, said the president’s address allowed the staff to understand their broader picture of their university position.

“It helps Staff Council see the larger context, that they’re really connected to a dynamic entity,” she said.

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