Candidates named for associate provost

Monica Kast

The Office of Research and Creative Activity hosted open forums this week after announcing the candidates for the position of associate provost of research and creative activity this week from an internal university search.

The candidates for the position are Cheryl Davis, professor in the department of biology and interim associate provost of research and creative activity, Joel Turner, associate professor in the department of political science and Blair Thompson, associate professor in the department of communication.

The candidates each held an open forum, where they were able to give presentations and answer questions from faculty.

Davis gave her presentation on Monday, where she discussed her time as interim associate provost and what she would continue to do if appointed to the position.

Davis said it was her belief the role of the associate provost is to work toward increasing internal and external support for research, and maintaining and enforcing standards for ethics within research.

“The other thing that folks in my office felt very strongly about was that they wanted to do a better job of promoting success and letting people know what kinds of activities were going on on campus,” Davis said.

Davis said in her role as interim associate provost, they’ve begun sending out emails and press releases and posting on social media about awards and successes on campus. Additionally, Davis said she thought it was important that people on campus were made aware of resources in the Office of Research and Creativity.

“I realized that one important thing that was missing is so many people on this campus don’t even realize the resources that are available in the Office of Research and Creativity,” Davis said. “They just are not aware.”

Turner presented on Tuesday and said that he focused on his priorities for the Office of Research and Creative Activity as well as personal attributes that would benefit him if selected.

Turner said that he was part of the group that started the Social Science Research Center, and has been the director of the center since 2013. He said he felt the experience had given him perspective on research at the university level.

“I’ve worked independently, I’ve worked with colleagues here, colleagues at other universities, I’ve worked with students here,” Turner said. “I understand the value of collaboration, particularly across disciplines, which is where I think the research field in general is going.”

Turner said that he envisions the role of associate provost as one of a facilitator, working to find out what faculty needs are and trying to meet those needs.

“The way I would envision it is to be sort of a facilitator or a catalyst to help faculty get research done,” Turner said. “The way I view the office is that I would like to find out what faculty need, what their needs are and what students needs are in terms of quality research. And if I can facilitate those needs in any way, do that.”

Turner said that as a faculty member himself, he’s aware of what some of the difficulties and needs are in research, and would use that if selected.

Thompson will present on Thursday, and said that he will focus on his vision for the Office of Research and Creative Activity, as well as the attributes he has that will help fulfill that vision. Thompson said that through his research, he has worked with the Office of Research and Creative Activity in the past.

“I think that I have understanding of the different types of things that the office offers, the different types of things that the faculty apply for, and the different programs that are available,” Thompson said.

Thompson said that his vision for the Office of Research and Creative Activity includes focus on “communication, collaboration and learning.” He said that he felt his background in communication would allow him to be able to provide consistent communication and work closely with each department to see what their needs were for research and creative activity.

“It’s an exciting opportunity, because you’re working more at a macro level,” Thompson said. “Not just your own, individual things, now you’re really getting the picture whole and how people across campus can increase funding and potential for what they can do in research and creative activity.”

Like Davis, Thompson said telling others about research and creative activity on campus is important.

“Part of this job, in some aspects, you are a cheerleader for the faculty and their research,” Thompson said. “In development … part of that is letting others know that they are in key positions and stakeholders what it is faculty are doing with their research.”

Provost David Lee and a search committee will recommend a final candidate to the Board of Regents, who will make the final appointment, according to Lee.

Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @monicakastwku.