After hosting two community forums and reviewing the qualifications of all applicants, the search committee appointed to finding a new provost for Stony Brook University is
making progress. Three meetings have taken place for members to be briefed about their task, to gain the perspective of high level administrators on the provost position and to review the candidates.
“We have agreed on many things that would be expected of the new provost,” said Dr. David Ferguson, one of the committee’s co-chairs. Members are looking ou
t for a candidate that can, “provide a strategic vision to enhance the University’s stature—nationally and globally, support efforts to enhance undergraduate and graduate education and effectively manage resources to support ambitious research agenda, faculty hiring plans, infrastructure improvements, and the Southampton and Manhattan locations.”
While the position is open to members of the community, Russell Reynolds, a search firm hired by Stony Brook University on several accounts, is encouraging o
utside candidates to apply. The search firm has created a position profile and an advertisement. To attract more applicants, it utilizes its resources to network with academic leaders.
It was the same search firm that gave Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley, Jr., Provost Eric Kaler, Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president
for Health Sciences, and Dr. John Morgan, director of the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics.
During the afternoon of March 16 and March 23, community forums were held to address what some considered a lack of representation in the committee. The
committee is made up of co-chairs Dr. David Ferguson, professor and chair of the Department of Technology and Society, and Dr. Nancy Tomes, professor of the Department of History. Dr. Samuel Aronson, president of Brookhaven Science Associates, Barbara Chernow, vice president for Facilities and Services, Alexander Dimitriyadi, undergraduate student an
d former executive vice president of USG, Karol Kain Gray, vice president for Finance and Administration, Dr. Tonjanita L Johnson, chief deputy to the President, Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president of Health Sciences, Kevin Law, president and chief executive officer of Long Island Association, Inc., Dr. Nicole S. Sampson, associate dean of curriculum for the College of Arts and Sciences, Donna Woodruff, executive associate director of Athletics are also a few of the members.
“Getting every group adequately represented is a difficult task,” Dimitriyadi said. He believes that the members chosen are the best the University could have done to cover all areas.
Budget cuts raise questions about whether or not a new provost could be found based on the university’s economic situation, but members are being upbeat.
“There are worst scenarios. As bad as they are, our assets are still enormous. We do have a lot to work with,” Tomes said during the forum.
Many of the concerns expressed by faculty and staff members’ at the community forum were financial, such as fair distribution of funds and the ability to hire.
The attendance of both forums combined is estimated to be 60 to 70 people, but community input for the committee comes in via emails and phone calls.
Members of the committee were unable to disclose the number of candidates or their identities. If a new provost is not found before the end of Kaler’s term, an interim provost will be appointed.
“I can only say that we have excellent candidates. In my opinion, the search is going well,” Ferguson said.