2nd candidate in search for WKU’s associate provost for Research and Graduate Education emphasizes collaboration in open forum

Jean Van Delinder is a candidate for the position of Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education. Van Delinder gave her speech to WKU on Tuesday, March 3.

Abbey Nutter

WKU hosted a second open forum in the search for new associate provost for Research and Graduate education Tuesday afternoon, with a candidate whose leadership style focused on collaboration.

Interested in the pull of a master’s intensive university, Jean Van Delinder spoke Tuesday and focused on her leadership styles.

Van Delinder listed her core leadership principles as promoting a culture of research in and across disciplines, attracting and retaining diverse faculty and staff and the recruitment and graduation of coveted, diverse students.

Van Delinder said the way to get new ideas and approaches is to have interdisciplinary teams in place grants.

“I always try and have connections outside my department, and from those connections,” Van Delinder said. “I was able to get research funding in several different sort of types of entities.”

In addition to the importance of interdisciplinary communication, Van Delinder also discussed transparency.

“There has to be transparency,” Van Delinder said. “You have to be, you know, you have to be upfront about what you’re trying to do, you have to be strategic, just like your everyday life if you’re not strategic or intentional about what you’re doing, nothing is going to change.” 

While much of her presentation focused on her leadership style, Van Delinder spoke also on her perspective of research environments and the advancement of graduate education, saying that the separation of graduate education and research is difficult to separate.

Her discussion on research environments emphasized the importance of investments in infrastructure like people and facilities, partnerships between industries and academic institutions, and the inclusive promotion of research,  scholarship and creative activities through the support of individual programs and interdisciplinary endeavors.

A question posed during the Q&A portion of the presentation asked Van Delinder how she would advocate for research and graduate education.

“I think a key thing is having a dean of the graduate college and research in central administration gives graduate education a voice,” Van Delinder said.

Van Delinder received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota before earning her master’s in American Studies and doctorate in sociology from the University of Kansas.

Currently serving at Oklahoma State University as the acting dean of the university’s graduate college, Van Delinder has been a member of OU’s faculty since 1996. She has served in a variety of leadership roles, including coordinator for graduate studies in sociology, director of the university’s women’s studies program and as associate dean of the OU graduate college. 

In addition to her work in academia, Van Delinder has served on the editorial board of publications such as Teaching Sociology, Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers where she served as supervising editor of Social, Political and Legal Philosophy.

The third candidate in the search will present Wednesday, March 4 in the HCIC multipurpose room at 2:00 p.m.

News reporter Abbey Nutter can be reached at [email protected] wku.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @abbeynutter.