By Jacquelyn Zeman – News Editor
Grand Rapids Community College has formed a search committee to select a new provost. AGB Search, a Washington D.C. based consulting group is leading the search for candidates.
James McCormick of AGB Search is assisting the college with their selection by placing ads on websites where people seek leadership roles in the academic world.
“The pre-search has already been conducted,” McCormick said. “We have been communicating to people what a great position it is, and there has been quite a bit of interest so far…Our duty is to assist the committee and institution…The college has a very strong reputation that is attracting interesting candidates.”
The college is spending $55,000 on a contract with the search firm.
Professor Jennifer Batten, a physical science faculty member, is a co-chair on the provost search team that consists of about 20 staff and faculty members.
“We got started at the end of April (on the search), and every department is represented in the committee, and a lot of the non-academic departments are represented as well,” Batten said. “We have a very diverse, highly qualified search team. When we met for the first time we talked about the traits we were looking for in the next provost. We discussed what kind of qualifications we wanted, what types of skills, and just what kind of a person we wanted the next academic leader of the college to be like.”
Although GRCC’s president Steven Ender is not helping select the final group of applicants, he has the final say on who the new provost will be, and has very high expectations for those who will be selected as possible candidates for the job.
“We want to find someone who has been deeply involved with an academic culture throughout their life…an individual who can understand a leadership perspective in which sometimes decisions need to be made around the academic future of the institution,” Ender said. “We all want to in these roles…work toenhance the life of the institution. There are times where you have to put the college before an individual or person. That is sometimes a difficult decision to make. I am looking for someone who understands that dynamic of the leadership.”
The search committee put together a job description and started recruiting candidates earlier in the summer. The final application deadline is Aug. 28. The search committee plans to reconvene in the fall, to look over the resumes and select a group of finalists. Video interviews will decide the top three to five candidates. The final candidates will be announced Sept. 19.
Once the final candidates are selected by the committee, anyone from GRCC and the community may give feedback on the top candidates through public presentations and candidate meetings.
Batten said student feedback will be encouraged during the search process as well.
“We will have community focus groups come in and meet with the candidates,” Batten said. “They will listen to the candidates give presentations on their vision for the college.”
Finalist interviews will take place Oct. 23 and 24 for round one, and Nov. 6 and 7 for round two.
“We are still in conversations about possibly having a student on the actual committee,” Nikki Banks, criminal justice department head, and provost search team co-chair said. “In our conversations with the search firm, we have talked about involving a student. We are student centered, so that voice is very valuable to us.”
“The more input you get, the better the search,” Banks said. “Our expectations are great, but that is because our institution is great…because of the institution we are looking at top of the line individuals who will be seeking this position…it is not a situation where we are concerned with the quality of the individuals who are applying.”
Once the committee has made it’s final decision, they will give the recommendation for the new provost to the president, and from there he will be making the final decision on his own.
The search committee hopes to have the new provost start in January. Until then Patti Trepkowski will be acting as interim provost.
“We need the person who blows us out of the water, and is directly what we want and what we need. We need to be able to see the ad brought to life,” Banks said.
For more information on the provost search, visit www.grcc.edu/provost/provostsearch.