Jan 212010
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Even though Robert Sternberg said if he had to choose, he prefers merlot to microbrew, he thinks he would fit in just fine at CSU.

Despite the long list of private schools under his belt, Sternberg is a chameleon of sorts, ready and able to adapt to the environment of a public institution with a smaller budget and 20,000 more students.

Sitting in a lavish red chair at the University Club Thursday afternoon, the New Jersey native said he and his wife love to travel the world but the mountains and valleys of Colorado remain one of their favorite destinations.

One of three final candidates for CSU provost/executive vice president, Sternberg may find himself living in Fort Collins soon enough, and said if he gets the job ­­he and his wife have already picked a new home.

As provost Sternberg would chair the Council of Deans, oversee more than 150 academic programs on campus, serve as a non-voting member of Faculty Council and sit on CSU President Tony Frank’s cabinet.

If he were hired as the university’s No. 2-leader, Sternberg said, in his public interview in a room of mostly CSU faculty and staff, that even as a top administrator it would be a learning experience. “The first thing you have to do is listen and figure out how they do things,” he said.

“I’m not a top-down manager. I’m not into hierarchical things, I didn’t grow up that way,” he said.
Sternberg said he believes in using knowledge to make a positive impact. And he can do this at CSU, as a land-grant institution, that focuses on making Colorado a better place.

“My psyche is very much consistent with the mission of a land-grant university,” he said. “I view research and teaching as two sides of the same coin, I don’t see them as competitive.”

Poking fun at his “disgraceful” love for film noir and his hidden talent for writing sci-fi when he’s not publishing academic work, Sternberg said one of his favorite things about working with youth is cultivating creativity.

“It’s providing an atmosphere where people can take risks. It’s good to buy low and sell high in life,” he said.

Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira at news@collegian.com.

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