Dec 092008
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Pending Interim CSU President Tony Frank’s selection of an interim university provost, Rick Miranda, dean of the college of Natural Sciences, spoke to the CSU community Tuesday regarding his credentials and his desire to support the university’s faculty.

Miranda is one of two candidates for the position. His competitor, CSU Dean of Engineering Sandra Woods, spoke Monday.

The role, once Frank’s permanent position, became vacant Nov. 5 when former CSU President Larry Penley unexpectedly resigned, making Frank the university’s head. Frank will ultimately be responsible for making the decision between Miranda and Woods.

Miranda said his experience, which spans a 27-year tenure at CSU and includes roles as professor, chair of the Mathematics department and, currently, dean, speaks to his knowledge of the inner workings of the university.

“This is my home,” Miranda said. “I care a lot about Colorado State; its successes and the successes of our interim president are important to me, and what motivates me is to do things well.”

Calling the difference between Penley’s presidency and Frank’s a swing from one end of the pendulum to the other in terms of budget priorities and internal involvement, Miranda said his primary goal as provost would be to bring more faculty and teaching assistants to every college and department on campus.

As Colorado faces an uncertain economy and low funding – the state ranks 49th in the nation in terms of support from its government – Miranda said where and how best to make cuts must be an immediate discussion.

The best solutions so far, he said, have been to spread cuts across every university department. Should funding shortages get more severe, though, he said it will become necessary to determine whether to protect units that can’t afford to take heightened cuts or whether CSU will have to let go of those units.

“I hope to make decisions in a very open and transparent way,” he said.

Taylor Smoot, student government president, said his operation, which heard from both Miranda and Woods on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, could easily maintain a professional working relationship with either potential interim provost.

“We really support either one,” he said, citing the academic rather than administrative backgrounds of both as key components of that support.

Smoot said he believes either will keep in line with a spirit of open communication with the students.

“And Tony Frank will champion that,” he said.

Frank’s permanent position at CSU depends on a decision from the board, which must first determine who the next president of the university will be.

Frank said he was uncertain whether he would return to the provost post.

“That would be a discussion for the board,” he said in an e-mail. “I think it’s very important for the president to build their own team, particularly the critical position of provost.”

Frank’s ascension, Miranda said, can be credited to both his experience at CSU and Penley’s lack of interior focus.

“(Penley) spent more time off campus and allowed Tony Frank to take over things that might otherwise have been done by other people or his own people,” Miranda said.

If the CSU System Board of Governors decides to hire both a CSU-Fort Collins president and a chancellor, which they are considering for the first time in decades, Miranda said he believes the president would be able to spend more time on campus, getting more involved and being able to stay more involved in internal affairs.

“I would hope that it would never swing back to the other end of the spectrum (which had less internal involvement), which would mean whoever the next provost is would have a little less power over things than Tony Frank did,” Miranda said.

“And that would be healthy.”

Brad Bohlander, university spokesperson, said he believes Frank will decide on an interim provost before the beginning of next semester.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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