Provost search draws to a close, two finalists chosen

By Assistant Campus Editor

Carolina Sanchez
The provost search committee has narrowed the field to two semifinalist candidates, who Onye Ozuzu, a provost search committee member and chair of the Dance Department, said are excellent fits for the college. Louise Love, vice president of Academic Affairs, has been serving as the interim provost and said she is excited to meet the two candidates.

The search for a new provost, a post that has been held on an interim basis for more than two years, is winding down, as two finalists will be visiting the campus Feb. 4 and 11.

The names of the finalists have not been released but will be revealed to the student body when the candidates make their public presentations, President Kwang-Wu Kim announced Jan. 22 in a college-wide email.

“We looked for people who met as many of the qualifications that we laid out as possible,” Kim said in an interview.

According to the email, the provost search committee unanimously selected the semifinalists in December from a pool of applicants chosen by professional search firm Isaacson, Miller.

Onye Ozuzu, a provost search committee member and chair of the Dance Department, said the committee considered many highly qualified candidates, which made it more difficult to select finalists, but said she is pleased with the candidates who were chosen.

“The two candidates that we ended up choosing were clearly the two that had the right fit for us,” Ozuzu said. “It was very clear that it was the right fit for the vision of our president and for Columbia College at this time.”

Kim said that while the search committee is faculty-based, a student representative was also able to give input and interview candidates. Kim said he wanted to make sure the committee had a student perspective.

Ozuzu said a permanent provost would benefit the college in a variety of ways, beginning with setting a new tone for curriculum in all departments.

“The curriculum needs to reflect the incoming students and the needs of outgoing students into the culture around us, and the provost is the one that cultivates a system to facilitate that happening in an optimal way,” Ozuzu said.

Ozuzu said the finalists’ upcoming public presentations to the student body will allow the committee to observe how well students respond to the candidates. She said it is crucial for them to interact directly with the students to gauge whether they connect.

Louise Love, vice president of Academic Affairs and interim provost, said she looks forward to learning who the candidates are and how they may fit in with

the college.

Love said she hopes the public presentations to the student body give the students and administration a good idea of who the candidates are both as people

and educators.

“I certainly hope that the candidates will be very student-centered,” Love said. “I think there needs to be a balance between a forward-looking vision and taking care of the immediate business that comes up routinely in the office of the provost.”

Love said although her time working with Kim has been productive, it is important for him to assemble his own team of people to further his initiatives.

“I think it’s going to be very positive when the president has his new cabinet in place,” Love said. “They can have visions for the campus but also communicate very proactively with all the constituents of the campus about the vision, the mission and the way forward.”

The college is also currently searching for a new chief financial officer and a vice president for Institutional Advancement. Kim said the search committee is planning to interview candidates by March for the CFO position and is currently looking for search firms to place a new vice president for Institutional Advancement.

“[This] is an opportunity to build my team,” Kim said. “I’m seeing it as [a] real opportunity to look for people I believe will really help us move this school forward.”