Tony Frank seems to be on the fast track at CSU
In 2000 he became vice president for research and information technology. In 2004 he added senior vice president to his title. And now Frank has one more title – interim provost/academic vice president.
Frank, who has worked at CSU since 1993, was asked to fill the position after a Feb. 9 Board of Governors of the CSU System meeting in which CSU President Larry Penley secured board approval of Frank's appointment.
"There were no formal interviews, as is typical for an interim appointment for a position like this. It's my understanding that the board of governors agreed with the president's selection at the February meeting and I was formally notified that day," Frank wrote in an e-mail interview.
Current Provost/Academic Vice President Peter Nicholls announced his resignation in December. Nicholls is relocating to the University of Connecticut, which features medical and law schools and has five branches.
"It's a new challenge," Nicholls said of the Connecticut position. "They will have probably different sorts of issues than we have."
He planned to finish his tenure in April, but he will pass the torch in March. He shortened his stay because the University of Connecticut's provost left this month, and Nicholls was asked to start his new position as soon as possible.
Nicholls expressed confidence in Frank's ability to act as both interim provost and senior vice president, and he said he would miss CSU.
"I've really enjoyed my time here," he said. "I'm very, very proud of all the faculty and the students."
Frank is transferring information and technology duties, as well as some research duties, to his senior vice president position, but he will give up some research duties.
"Sponsored programs, regulatory compliance, laboratory animal resources, core research facilities and other primary aspects of the research mission of the university will remain with the VPR (vice president for research) position," wrote Frank, whose appointment was publicized Feb. 14.
These duties will fall to Hank Gardner, formerly the associate vice president for research and information technology, who will become the vice president for research.
Research will retain its own full-time administrator because of the complex duties involved in monitoring research at a university like CSU and the amount of research done here, said university spokesperson Brad Bohlander.
"VP research positions are almost always distinct from the provost position, in part because the demands related to federal research compliance demand the full-time attention of a university officer at a major research university such as CSU," Frank wrote.
Frank will not receive a pay increase, Bohlander said.
Gardner's current position made him a good choice for vice president of research, Bohlander said. Gardner agreed.
"Particularly in the context of an interim position it was kind of a logical thing to happen," Gardner said.
Nicholls said filling the posts of both interim provost and senior vice president will increase Frank's workload, but he is confident in Frank's ability to deliver the goods.
"For the last several months Tony Frank has been working very closely with me and (Vice President for Student Affairs) Linda Kuk, ever since he took the senior vice president title," Nicholls said.
Frank agreed that his close working relationship with past provosts made him more comfortable accepting the interim provost position.
"Any new position brings a learning curve, but having served with some great provosts and having served as a member of Cabinet and council of deans for almost five years, I'm not anticipating the provost learning curve to be steeper than my previous ones," he wrote.
But the path looks rocky. Nicholls noted several challenges, many related to Colorado's money problems.
"The next provost is going to have to deal with the implementation of the College Opportunity Fund, and is going to have to work through the performance contract with the (Colorado Commission on Higher Education)," Nicholls said. "Then there's also going to be a 'fee for service' contract that's coming up in the next several months and we haven't even started talking to the CCHE about that yet."
Nicholls also mentioned familiar problems: legislative responses to the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and tuition increases to make up shortfalls caused by the state's lack of funding for the university.
Frank will become interim provost on March 1.