WKU administration conducts two internal searches

Monica Kast

WKU is currently conducting two internal searches for the dean of the graduate school and the associate provost for research and creative activity, according to WKU administrators.

According to an email sent to faculty and staff by David Lee, provost and vice president for academic affairs, both the dean of the graduate school and the associate provost for research and creative activity positions will be filled through an internal search. An internal search hires from existing faculty or staff at WKU. Interim faculty members currently hold both positions.

“This is a very important appointment for WKU, and I encourage applications from all members of the WKU academic community with the credentials, qualifications, and aspirations appropriate to this opportunity,” Lee wrote in both emails.

Cheryl Davis, a professor in the biology department, is currently serving as the interim associate provost for research and creative activity, as well as the interim director of sponsored programs. Last April, the Herald reported that Davis was appointed interim associate provost of research and creative activity on Sept. 1, 2015.

Davis was contacted for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.

Lee said after the search for the associate provost of research and creative activity will begin this semester. Although the position became open last year, they were not able to begin a search at that time.

“Particularly with the budget issues last year, we decided not to initiate a search right then,” Lee said. “But, the position needs to be filled on a permanent basis and we’ve started a search as the next step in that process.”

Lee said a search committee made up of faculty and staff would conduct a search this semester and provide information to him about the candidates. Then, Lee said he will make a recommendation to the Board of Regents for the position, and they will make the final approval.

Lee said research and creative activity are “at the heart of what a university is about,” and he felt WKU had many faculty members who could fill the position.

“We have a lot of internal talent,” Lee said. “We have a number of faculty members who I think would do very well in this role and I’m confident that we can find someone who will be extremely successful as the associate provost, and an internal candidate will be up to speed even sooner. “

Eric Reed, a professor in the history department, is currently serving as the interim dean of the graduate school. Reed said he was asked to serve as interim dean by Lee last fall, when the previous dean accepted a position at a different university.

“The Dean manages the Graduate School, which is responsible for graduate admission, matriculation, and enrollment management services,” Reed wrote in an email. “The Dean manages graduate assistantships and financial allocations and awards associated with them. The Dean is also involved in a wide variety graduate-focused initiatives, and so must be broad-minded and able to understand the needs of and work with graduate programs across campus, from the sciences to the liberal arts.”

Reed said the dean will be selected through a search committee sometime this fall, and will begin in January.

“There are a lot of talented faculty members at WKU who would be very effective in the Dean role,” Reed wrote in an email. “I hope we have a large pool of applicants!”

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