The Search For MC’s New Provost Is Underway

by Kelly Kennedy & Jessica McKenzieStaff Writers

As Manhattan College’s current provost, Bill Clyde, Ph.D., prepares to step down after 10 years of service, the Provost Search Committee has begun looking for potential candidates to fill the position.

The provost is a head administrator for the college, and also acts as Vice President of Academic Affairs. The provost is second to the president on the cabinet of the college.

“Any provost is expected to have very good working relationships and to participate in the areas such as facilities, enrollment management, and financial consideration, as all of those have a significant impact on academic affairs,” Clyde explained.

In order to find a new provost, MC has formulated the Provost Search Committee, which is made up of a faculty member from five of the six schools on campus, two students selected by the faculty and two administrators.

Tim Ward, Dean of the School of Engineering, was chosen by President O’Donnell as chair of the search committee. He is the longest serving Dean on campus, serving twelve years.

“I’ve been here longer than the president and the provost. The president asked me to serve and I agreed to do so,” Ward said.

On Oct. 10, the Provost Search Committee went public with information regarding the search process. To find a candidate that aligns well with the college’s Lassalian values and mission, the search committee has been working closely with higher education search consultants from RH Perry and Associates.

Matthew Kilcoyne and Sue DeWine, Ph.D, the consultants from RH Perry and Associates that are presently working with MC, declined The Quadrangle’s requests for interviews, due to the confidentiality of the search.

President O’Donnell discovered RH Perry and Associates during his time as a board member at Lewis University near Chicago. RH Perry assisted the school, also a Lasallian Catholic institution, in finding their current president, as well as three of their deans.

“They are very active in the Catholic higher education system, and I thought they’d be a great option for Manhattan,” O’Donnell said.

Ward acknowledges that the search for a new provost for any institution is a complex, delicate process. In welcoming the new provost, the college hopes to improve its retention and graduation rates, encourage the continued use of technology in the classroom, innovate enrollment management, and further secure finances.

“The students, faculty, and administration have all been expressing their views on what we believe we’d like to see with the next provost. We want to consider what’s been going well with the current provost, but also some new things we’d like to see in the future,” Ward said.

The search committee has been asking students and staff for feedback in who they feel would be a promising candidate in order to meet the school’s needs. Additionally, the search committee has been releasing job advertisements to reach a broader audience.

“What we are hoping to get is not so much feedback but involvement from the campus community and nominations for the position,” Ward explained.

In order to keep the school community involved in the search, several emails have been sent to students and faculty. Ward has sent an email to the student body including a PDF of the Executive Search Profile, which was created by RH Perry and Associates.

According to the PDF, the perfect candidate is “entrepreneurial and innovative, with the ability to use data-driven decision-making for academic programmatic development to address a changing higher education landscape.”

While there are not yet any specific applicants in mind, the Provost Search Committee will have access to the application pool on Nov. 22.

Though there is no set start date for the next provost, Provost Clyde is set to be stepping down to join the administration of the School of Business in early 2020.

Clyde knows that whoever is chosen to be the next provost will have an eye for continued innovation.

“The overall thing that I tried to instill as provost here is an entrepreneurial spirit. We’ve got a lot of smart people here and they all have a lot of great ideas,” he said.

While many have been working to find the next provost, President Brennan O’Donnell makes the final decision in the end.

“It’s intriguing to think about what life will be around here next year when someone [comes in] with probably a very different academic, ethnic, geographical background and a whole new point of view,” said President O’Donnell.

The provost is second-in-command to the president, therefore, they will be working very closely; the office spaces of the provost and the president are even connected.

“I hope to energize to the cabinet and the college administration and faculty. I want to have someone come in with a fresh perspective,” O’Donnell said, “And I hope our applicant pool makes it a difficult decision for me.”