Hunt for provost candidates ends

By Suzanne Tomse

Two NIU administrators were among six others selected as provost candidates by the Provost Search Committee March 20.

Daniel Wit, NIU acting provost, and James Norris, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, were chosen as candidates in addition to Mark Auburn of the University of Arkansas, Norma Rees of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Kendall Baker of Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

William Paudler of Portland State University in Oregon also was a candidate chosen by the search committee. However, he “dropped from the pool” Wednesday for “no specific reasons,” said Search Committee Co-Chairman James Lankford.

Interviews for the candidates will begin March 29 and will run to April 17. During this time, candidates will be questioned and evaluated by different university constituents including members of college councils, a group of 22 students and members of the commissions on the status of minorities and women.

In addition to interviews, open forums will be held for each candidate. The forums will be hosted by University Council Executive Secretary Jim Giles and Student Association President Jim Fischer. Giles said the forums will be “informal” and will enable anyone on campus to question the candidates.

“It (open forum) should give the university community the chance to form an opinion and impression of the candidates,” Giles said. After the forums, Giles and Fischer will give their input on each candidate to the search committee.

The forums will be held in Gable Hall, Room 119 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on March 31 for Auburn, April 3 for Rees, April 10 for Norris, April 14 for Baker and April 17 for Wit.

When the forums and interviews are complete, all recommendations made by university constituents will be submitted to the search committee. The committee then will evaluate the recommendations and submit its choice for provost to NIU President John LaTourette. In turn, LaTourette will forward his selection to the Board of Regents for approval at its May meeting. The new provost is expected to begin at NIU on July 1.

The provost is the university’s chief academic officer, who reports directly to the president and is responsible for all academic programs, budgets and personnel.