Wearden named new provost


Carolina Sanchez

Stan Wearden, current dean of the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University, will begin his new job as Columbia’s senior vice president and provost on July 1.

By Campus Editor

Stan Wearden will take over as Columbia’s new senior vice president and provost starting July 1, according to a Feb. 26 emailed announcement from President Kwang-Wu Kim. 

After carefully considering Wearden’s academic credentials and feedback from the provost search committee and Columbia community, Kim chose him over Chris McCord, the other provost finalist, according to the email. 

In a Feb. 27 interview with The Chronicle, Kim said he made his decision based on the questionnaires the college community submitted following the candidates’ presentations. Based on the feedback, attendees questioned whether McCord’s mathematics background and lack of experience with an institution like Columbia would make him a good match, Kim said. 

“With Dr. Wearden, there was a much greater sense that … his approach would fit well,” Kim said. “It really came down to a more gut level sense of which person would make more sense to our faculty and staff when they interacted with them.”

Kim said Wearden’s experience with unionized faculty and his previous administrative experience would be valuable assets, adding that Wearden’s different area of expertise will make him a good partner for Kim. 

“He’s got lots of experience with faculty, [and] he brings experience with unionized faculty,” Kim said. “There were a lot of things about his experience that complement mine and make [us] a strong pair.”

Wearden will leave his position as dean of the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University, where he doubled the professional advising staff and increased the freshman retention rate from 78 percent in fall 2011 to 81.6 percent in fall 2013, according to his curriculum vitae. 

Wearden holds a doctorate in mass communication research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, according to his curriculum vitae. Improving retention rates at Kent State was a complex process that involved providing students with the environment necessary for success and admitting students who were properly prepared for college, Wearden said. 

Wearden said he is excited to be  Columbia’s new provost and is eager to begin his new job. 

He said Columbia’s media programs caught his attention years ago, and his visit during the selection process further piqued his interest. 

“I have known of Columbia College Chicago for years because of the strength of its media program and the strength of your film program,” Wearden said. “Through every step of the [selection] process, I have felt myself drawing closer and closer to Columbia College Chicago … and just feeling more and more like it’s a good fit for me.” 

Wearden said his first priority is as provost is to learn more about the college and its programs.

Louise Love, Columbia’s interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, will continue to serve as provost until Wearden takes over on July 1, according to Kim’s email. 

Luke Crawford, a member of the provost search committee and a double major in AEMM and marketing communication, said he is excited about Wearden becoming Columbia’s provost. Crawford described Wearden as nice and easy to talk to but very structured. 

“[Wearden and McCord] have a lot of experience [and] both of them are very intelligent,” Crawford said. “Both of them would have been able to … thrive in this atmosphere, but I think [Wearden] is going to have a much easier time thriving in this community.”