Vice provost would assist in advancing mission of Academic Affairs

Ilian Cervantes

Sacramento State will welcome a new vice provost as part of Frederika Harmsen’s academic leadership team starting fall 2014.

The vice provost is the principal academic officer for matters of academic program planning, educational policy, curriculum review, program evaluation, and space allocation, and will perform the duties of provost in Harmsen’s absence.

California State University Director of Public Affairs Mike Uhlenkamp said the decision to have a vice provost is not mandatory and depends on each CSU campus.

The position is also accountable for management of the Academic Affairs budget and assists in the development of the annual university budget. The position is permanent, has been vacant for four years and is already part of the budget.

“(The vice provost position) is absolutely essential for the efficient-running of the biggest division in the university,” said Donald Taylor, assistant vice president for academic programs and global engagement. “Academic Affairs is responsible for all academic programs on this campus. Every degree, at the bachelors, masters and doctoral level is the responsibility of this unit.”

This unit includes 29,000 students, over 1,400 faculty, eight colleges and the library.

“The amount of work that is required is enormous,” Taylor said. “It brings in the need for a vice provost, to support the work of the provost in leading the academic division of the university.”

The University Policy Manual guides the procedure for the appointment of academic administrators including the vice provost position.

The Faculty Senate is taking nominations for individuals to serve on the vice provost search committee, formally referred to as the Selection Advisory Committee.

Faculty Senate Chair Janet Hesch said in an email four faculty names have been received out of the required five, and they are extending the volunteer deadline for another week. The senate will approve the names at the March 20 Faculty Senate meeting.

The Selection Advisory Committee for the vice provost position can typically have nine members, four non-faculty and five faculty, Taylor said. The president can choose more members as long as faculty constitute the majority on the committee as per the University Policy Manual.

“The committee will consist of representatives from different sectors of the campus,” Taylor said. “Faculty is one group, students is another group, staff is another group and (also) academic administrators, somebody like a dean, an associate dean or an assistant vice president.”

President Alexander Gonzalez will choose faculty to join the Selection Advisory Committee from the list the Faculty Senate provides. Every appointed member to a search committee has an equal vote including students and staff.

The Selection Advisory Committee is in charge of reviewing the applications and conducting interviews for the vice provost position. Gonzalez makes the final decision taking into consideration the recommended candidates and his own interviews with those candidates.

“When the candidates come to this campus, they will be interviewed by a variety of entities on this campus,” Taylor said. “For example, the council of deans will interview each of those candidates and they will submit their recommendations to the president.”

Harmsen will also conduct an independent interview of the candidates.

Candidates who do not work at Sac State need to be eligible for a senior faculty position, Taylor said. If the candidate is a history professor, the history department will interview them to determine they are capable of teaching at the senior faculty level.

ASI President Nielsen Gabriel said he is working with ASI’s vice presidents and college directors to nominate two individuals for the vice provost search committee.

Individuals have not been selected yet, but the duties the candidate will perform include attending search committee meetings, participating in each of the interviews, and participating in the deliberation and recommendation of the next vice provost, Gabriel said in an email.

Charles Gossett was the interim provost, and due to the temporary position, the vice provost position has been vacant for a few years, Taylor said. The last vice provost in 2010 was Mike Lee, who is currently the vice president for administration and chief financial officer.

Other universities may refer to the vice provost position as assistant provost or deputy provost.

The vacancy announcement will be released within the next few days and will include the qualifications Harmsen is looking for.

“We want to continue to be the premier regional university for this part of California, and a vice provost will assist the provost and the president to get us there,” Taylor said.