Provost Search Committee Turns to Students for Feedback

Members+of+the+provost+search+committee%2C+pictured+above%2C+discussed+the+importance+of+the+position+of+provost+in+academic+affairs+and+campus+life+%28Kevin+Stoltenborg%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29.+

Members of the provost search committee, pictured above, discussed the importance of the position of provost in academic affairs and campus life (Kevin Stoltenborg/The Fordham Ram).

By Natalie Migliore

Members of the provost search committee, pictured above, discussed the importance of the position of provost in academic affairs and campus life (Kevin Stoltenborg/The Fordham Ram).

A search committee waited in Flom Auditorium to meet with students Monday, intending to have an open forum with students on what they were hoping to see in the next university provost. The university administration created the committee to fill the vacant provost position, which opened when Stephen Freedman, the previous provost, passed away suddenly this summer. The meeting took place with only one student present from beginning to end.

The search committee discussed the possibility that students may not know what the provost does and the importance this position holds.

“It’s the number two leader of the institution,” said Peter Stace, senior vice president for enrollment and strategy. “It’s the person with the academic vision.”

Fordham counts on the provost to focus on academic affairs and develop new academic programs.
“They have to deal with real issues of how we prioritize our academic goals,” Rafael Zapata, chief of diversity said.

The meeting was held to hear from students about which academic issues and developments they wanted the next provost to focus on. The committee members present were Stace, Zapata, Jean Dowdall and Philip Tang. Dowdall and Tang are outside consultants aiding in the search process. Each member said they were concerned with the low turnout of only one student.

A Fordham Ram Twitter poll showed that of the 105 respondents, 86 percent said they were not familiar with the responsibilities of the provost position and the role it plays in academic life.
However, outside of the forum, some students shared their hopes for the new provost, including career preparation.

“I guess something that could be improved at Fordham is getting more students involved with careers and career services,” said Andrew Saad, GSB ’19.

He said he thinks the classroom should incorporate more opportunities for careers and networking.
“Ultimately, that’s what we’re here for right? For an education to get a job.”

One student expressed that the Gabelli School of Business seems to get more attention than the College of Rose Hill.

“I would want someone who focuses more on Rose Hill because I feel like they don’t really know what’s going on,” said Maddie Colms, FCRH ’21.

Zapata said he plans to reach out to student-based organizations in order to talk to more students who might voice other concerns about what the prospective provost should take focus on.

The committee said the university hopes to find someone to cultivate growth in its academic programs, as Freedman did, and hopes to hear from students about what it should be looking for in his successor. The committee will continue to meet throughout the fall.