On the hunt

Time constraints, limited options create a sense of urgency in the provost search

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 2/26/17 10:12pm


In a previous Lanthorn editorial, we urged administration to be cautious when selecting a new candidate to fill Provost Gayle Davis' position. Since then, the university has been through five potential provost candidates, and none of them seem to have made the cut. With only two months left in the semester, we're left with questions about the search process and a sense of urgency as prime training opportunities for the new candidate pass.

In order to assist with the provost search, Grand Valley State University hired educational and executive search firm Isaacson, Miller. The search has been in progress since the summer, and we are sure that the firm comes with a large price tag as well. Though we think it is important to hire a search team to find candidates that the university would otherwise not have access to, we also aren't sure that the results have been reflective of the time spent looking for potential replacements. The firm was hired to find successful candidates who not only met the qualifications to be the next provost and executive vice president of academic and student affairs but fit the culture as well. We have seen from the past five candidates that although they posses the qualifications, they do not seem to be the right fit for GVSU. 

We are in no way asking the university to settle. We want a candidate who will do the provost position justice, as Davis has, dedicating copious amounts of time and energy to this position and leaving big shoes to fill; however, it also needs to be acknowledged that the university is working under a time constraint. This time of the year would be a valuable opportunity for a candidate to experience GVSU. From campus activity to administrative decisions, this is an invaluable time for a replacement to be learning about what it means to be a Laker. 

We all know GVSU is a great, unique university unlike many others in the state. We are different, and we want to make sure the new provost can continue to help GVSU develop into a prominent university in Michigan. Davis has always questioned what decisions will benefit not only the university but also the students at GVSU, and we think that is an important quality to have in our next provost. But how many more people will slip through the cracks until we find the right one, and how much longer will we wait? 

As we move closer to commencement, we that the university finds a candidate who matches the GVSU standard and is willing to learn. Since Davis has been provost for more than 15 years, we understand the hesitation to bring in someone new. Regardless of who the selected candidate is, there is going to be a learning curve. We just hope that the university search committee has considered this as well. 

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