Dec 082008
Authors: Trevor Simonton

Following formerly active CSU Provost Tony Frank’s transition into his current interim president position, Dean of Engineering Sandra Woods spoke to CSU professors, deans and faculty Monday about why she should hold the university’s newly open interim provost role.

The job became available last month after former CSU President Larry Penley suddenly resigned, making Frank interim CSU president.

Woods, a seven-year administrative figure at CSU, spoke about her past experiences in academic leadership and of her vision for the future of the land-grant institution.

“The vision never should be generated by one individual; it should come up from the faculty, the students and the staff,” she said.

Woods said that the best decisions are made by large and diverse groups and that, if given the chance to be the university’s interim provost, she would work to foster an environment conducive to the faculty’s collective sharing of opinion.

“It’s great to disagree,” she said. “There’s always another perspective.”

The only other applicant for the interim provost position is Rick Miranda, dean of Natural Sciences. He will speak to his credentials today in an open forum in Johnson Hall, room 222, at 11 a.m.

One candidate will hold the interim provost position until the CSU System Board of Governors decides on a permanent CSU president. That process will take an unknown length of time, head CSU spokesperson Brad Bohlander said.

When asked if he might return to the office of provost, Frank said in an e-mail interview that he was uncertain.

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

Frank said he has “no idea” if he will be the next CSU president and did not comment on whether he desired to be.

“I have a high degree of confidence that the board will carefully and thoughtfully engage in an open process to select the next president and that they will seek the most qualified candidate,” he said.

According to Tom Gorell, the vice president of Administrative Services, the provost’s chief duty is to maintain academic programs while making sure sufficient resources are available for the students.

“The provost’s job is to decide priorities,” he said.

When asked what the biggest challenge facing the incoming interim provost is, Gorell said the budget is to be a primary concern.

“Anything related to the budget is a challenge,” he said.

Bohlander said when Frank took the interim president position, he appointed Dean of Veterinary Medicine Lance Perryman as a temporary replacement for the acting provost.

Perryman now also heads the search committee that is in charge of finding the interim provost. He will step down as acting provost after the committee hears interviews from each candidate. Frank makes the final pick Woods said despite the temporary status of the position, the work of the future interim provost will carry into the future.

“I don’t see this as a placeholder position,” she said. “If I thought it was a placeholder, and I was just going to sit in a chair and just sign things for the next few months, I wouldn’t be interested in doing it. . We don’t know how long this is going to take.”

Before Woods left the open forum, Gorell asked her about her support for what he called “the previous regime’s presidential prerogatives,” referring to Penley’s promises for the university’s future — specifically his expensive “green” initiatives.

Woods said that as an environmental engineer, she loves the environment. But, she said, although she supports Penley’s plan to lower the university’s carbon footprint, it would be irresponsible to not revisit the initiatives and modify their “direction.”

She also stressed the importance of formulating a concrete strategy for the fulfillment of Penley’s promises.

“We have a very good strategic plan that has been vetted,” she said. “We have a lot of goals, but what’s missing are the strategies that come in between.”

Both Frank and Gorell agreed that Woods and Miranda are highly qualified candidates.

“They are experienced administrators who were highly successful faculty members,” Frank said. “These individuals would be competitive to be provosts on the national stage, and we are very fortunate to have such qualified internal candidates.”

More about each candidate, including respective administrative experience summaries and curriculum vitae, can be found at

Web Editor Trevor Simonton can be reached at

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