Marshall begins search for new university provost


University Communications

Marshall University Provost Gayle Ormiston announced in September that he was stepping down as provost after 10 years at the University.

Marshall University Provost Gayle Ormiston announced in September he would be stepping down at the conclusion of the academic year. Now, the university’s provost search committee is well-underway with the search process.

Marshall created a search committee with 19 faculty members who work with a national firm hired to conduct executive searches. The firm then created a profile that best fits the needs of Marshall’s students, staff and faculty.

In early January, the committee had various open forums for staff, faculty and campus community members.

Brandi Jacobs Jones, senior vice president for operations and committee chairwoman, said that although the process is lengthy, it is to ensure the best person for the position is chosen.

“As a result of those meetings, they put together the profile, and it really helps to set the tone for who we are as a campus community and also what we’re looking for,” Jones said. “And the consultants have advised, with the profile, the goal is for someone who is a prospective candidate to look at it and say that’s me.”

Ginny Painter, senior vice president for communications and marketing, said the provost search is important because the positions affects students directly.

“The provost affects the students more in their educational experience here than anybody else on campus,” Painter said. “It’s a term when you’re new to college, especially (those who) don’t know what that means, but it’s an important job.”

Jones said the committee will continue to accept applications until the process is closed, but there is currently a soft deadline of March 30.

“At that time, we will narrow down all of the applicants to eight or 10, where we will do in person interviews in April, and from those sessions we will narrow it down to three or four candidates that we will bring here on campus, and the campus community will have an opportunity to see them present, ask them questions in open forums,” Jones said.

Jones also said at that time she wants students to share their opinions on who the next provost should be.

“We want people to come out,” Jones said. “’Do you think person A, B, C or D is a good fit for us?’ We will have opportunities aside from those sessions but electronically for people to share their feedback. We want to hear from the students.”

Jones said the provost position is so important because the position sets the tone for academics.

“This is the person that’s leading the academic side of the house,” Jones said. “They set the tone in terms of what we’re doing with our curriculum, how we’re educating our students, how we’re providing student services. Not only our classroom setting and faculty members are a part of it, student affairs is a part of academic affairs. Both sides work together to meet the needs of our students inside and outside of the classroom.”

Jones said although the process officially began in October, the committee hopes to have someone announced by the end of May or early June.

Kyra Biscarner can be contacted at [email protected]