Towson administrator: Chandler a ‘pleasure to work with’



Alicia Balog

Senior Associate Provost Tim Chandler will start his new position as provost for Towson University, near Baltimore, Md., next January.

“Tim did a great job here, and he was wonderful for Kent State,” Provost Todd Diacon wrote in an email to faculty. “I feel like my job as Provost got off to a great start because of Tim’s steady hand and advice.”

Marina Cooper, deputy chief of staff at Towson, said Chandler was a front-runner in the selection process of more than 100 applicants because of his style, skills and approach to leadership.

“I think what we’re most enthusiastic about is his leadership style,” Cooper said. “Everyone is looking for, not a top-down leader, but someone who really has that kind of bottom-up approach in terms of his collaborative. He looks for input from various groups before making decisions, and he’s a pleasure to work with.”

Cooper said Chandler went through an interview process and met with Towson’s administration, faculty, staff and students and finished his day with an open forum where he discussed what he would bring to Towson.

“There were a lot of moments where he’s just what our campus needs at this time,” she said. “You know universities go through so many phases of development, and we’re always changing. It is certainly a great time for us to have [a] leader in academic affairs, like Dr. Chandler.”

Cooper said Chandler has experience in areas that Towson is looking to improve upon.

As Towson’s provost, he will look into ways to increase retention and graduation rates and improve upon advising. He said his experiences as dean of the College of the Arts and College of Arts and Sciences, as well as senior associate provost, will help him understand and work on changing these issues at Towson.

Chandler will be leaving once the semester ends. He said it would have been tidier and less distracting to finish out the year at Kent State.

“It would be easier in many ways to have been able to finish out the academic year, a bit more satisfying to me,” Chandler said. “That’s the way it’s worked out. They want me to go, and that’s the agreement.”

Chandler has applied for provost positions before, including a university in Canada and Kennesaw State University in Georgia, where he had to decline the position after being accused of being a Marxist. But he said he thinks Towson is a good fit for him because of its similarities to Kent State.

“They both started out as normal schools, schools for teacher training,” he said. “From that point of view, it will be very helpful that they have a lot in common.”

Chandler said he feels a few different emotions regarding his new position.

“It’s always a sort of bittersweet when you leave somewhere you really enjoyed and are happy, and people have been wonderful to you,” he said. “There’s also that excitement of taking on a new challenge and trying something new.”

Chandler said people have been receptive and kind in his new position, sending him congratulatory emails, but he said he will miss the people of Kent most of all.

“I will miss both the community, which has been very warm and welcoming, and the institution and my colleagues here, who have been terrific,” he said.

Evan Gildenblatt, executive director for Undergraduate Student Government, worked with Chandler on a professional level, but also met with Chandler as a student of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“It’s bittersweet for me that he’s leaving because I know that this is an amazing opportunity at Towson,” Gildenblatt said. “But I also would’ve liked to see him here for a long, long time to come. He’s a very talented man.”

Daniel Mahony, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Services, said Chandler mentored him when he started out as a dean at Kent State.

“When I came in as a new dean and new to Kent State, there weren’t a lot of senior deans around,” Mahony said. “So Tim was always somebody, at least for me personally, that I could go to for advice. He was always a very good listener but always someone who would give me good feedback about how to handle different situations.”

Contact Alicia Balog at [email protected].