Forums allow campus to speak with provost candidates

Imran Majid

The Sacramento State Provost Committee is in the process of scheduling open campus forums for students, faculty and staff to meet and ask questions of the candidates for the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

With two forums being held last week, Fred Baldini, Sac State dean of the college of health and human services, and Carl Kemnitz, associate vice president for academic affairs at CSU Bakersfield, met with the campus community and discussed higher education and how to best serve students.

“Recent changes in public higher education have placed enormous emphasis on how campuses deliver educational programs,” said President Alexander Gonzalez, in an email. “The position of provost is crucial for (Sac State) as we meet the challenges ahead and work to provide the best educational experience possible for our students.”

With interim Provost Charles Gossett leaving in January, Gonzalez said he would like the new provost in place by Jan. 1.

Baldini came to Sac State in 1988 and has worked in multiple administrative positions, including chair of kinesiology and health science, as well as the current chair of the University Budget Advisory Committee.

He has received multiple awards of recognition, including the Outstanding Teaching Award in 1994 and the Outstanding Service Award in 2006.

“I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Baldini said. “We’re at a point in time when there’s going to be significant changes and a lot of things are going to be different in higher education the next few years. This is an opportunity to be right in the middle of that.”

Baldini said Sac State will need to figure out how to increase student access to high-demand classes and graduation rates, while keeping tuition low.

“One of the big challenges that we face is becoming a university that can do those kinds of things with the current resources that we have,” Baldini said.

Kemnitz began his career as a chemistry professor at CSU Bakersfield and has served in other positions, including chair of the chemistry department and associate dean of natural sciences, mathematics and engineering.

He has also worked extensively in various diversity grant programs, including Minority Access to Research Careers, which aims to help minorities secure funding for projects and other partnerships.

“We need to tap the expertise and talent of students regardless of their economic and social background,” Kemnitz said.

Sac State Director of Public Affairs Kim Nava said Human Resources will reveal the names of the other candidates as more forums are announced.

Nava said there will be an open forum for each candidate and Human Resources expects more sessions to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

The provost is expected to work with vice presidents and deans across the colleges, as well as manage university faculty and staff.  

The provost must also approve all new hires in the separate colleges as well as allot funds disbursed by the Academic Affairs department, said John Kepley, director of presidential communications.