By: Drew Troutman
The search for Bellarmine’s next academic provost is underway to replace Dr. Carole Pfeffer.
Bellarmine is working with Isaacson, Miller, a firm that collaborates with higher education institutions to identify candidates for the position. Isaacson, Miller is the same firm that assisted Bellarmine in the school’s presidential search two years ago.
Isaacson, Miller associate Leslie McCarthy explained the process of finding an academic provost.
“A provost search is much like searches for other leadership positions, except that the voices of those involved in the academic program are very important,” McCarthy said. “That is why the search committee includes faculty, students and deans, as well as other important members of the Bellarmine community.”
McCarthy and colleague Anita Tien held open forums at Bellarmine on Sept. 24 and 25. Staff and faculty members were invited to share their thoughts regarding the search.
At these meetings, members of the Bellarmine community discussed changes that could benefit the school. Many of the attendees agreed that a diversified budget that moves from the tuition-driven model would help Bellarmine students.
Others spoke on the importance of finding an optimistic provost. Multiple attendees said Bellarmine would benefit from hiring a provost who could bring a positive attitude to the community and encourage other faculty and staff members to do the same.
Because the provost is the school’s chief academic officer, he or she is responsible for managing the academic plans and policies of the university. Dr. Helen-Grace Ryan, Bellarmine’s vice president for student affairs, said the provost affects students greatly.
“This individual makes exceptional contributions around the institution’s academic landscape,” Ryan said. “They are a visionary and campus thought leader.”
Heather Boutell, Bellarmine’s director of financial aid, discussed the provost’s difficult task of managing the budget.
“The provost is the leader of the faculty, but also works a lot with staff,” Boutell said. “When resources are tight and you have to make cuts, where do you make those cuts?”
Unlike the presidential search, the provost search is open. Candidates will have the opportunity to interact with members of the Bellarmine community rather than speaking only to the search committee.
McCarthy said, “Presidential searches are generally composed of trustees, and that usually isn’t the case for provostial searches.”
McCarthy stressed Isaacson, Miller’s dedication to helping Bellarmine throughout the search process.
“We will support the committee in helping to develop an inclusive, diverse and broad base of candidates for the search,” McCarthy said. “The committee will explore the backgrounds and experiences of the candidates and eventually learn more and more about fewer candidates as the search concludes.”
McCarthy said Isaacson, Miller expects Bellarmine to name its next provost by the end of the 2019 spring semester.