Picking a provost

The last two weeks have been important ones for Kent State administration.

Four provost candidates met with the provost search committee that will be making a decision this week as to who it feels is the best choice for the position.

The search committee has heard the opinions of faculty, students, employees – here are ours.

Timothy J. Chandler – Dean of the College of Arts, Kent State


Kent State just hired its top administrative leader from New Orleans; we think it’s important that the second in the administrative food chain be very knowledgeable about Kent State and its students -ÿChandler is the only candidate with this attribute.

A provost is in charge of overseeing departments that he or she has no experience in. This could be daunting to some, and Chandler has no formal background in the arts but has made an impressive impact in the college. This is an encouraging sign that he could handle being a provost.

We feel he is the best candidate for the job.


He has no specific plans as to how to diversify Kent State.

Robert G. Frank – Dean and professor of the College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida


Frank has been a dean at the University of Florida for 12 years and has helped build a major research enterprise. This successful background in research is a selling point for Frank as research becomes increasingly important here and for President Lester Lefton.


The plus/minus system recently incorporated at Kent State is a plus for Frank and something he thinks should remain.

Elizabeth Langland – Provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Purchase College, State University of New York


Langland emphasized reaching out to Kent State’s regional campus through distance learning. She also discussed that Kent State has a large population of non-traditional students.

Langland established a maternity leave program at the University of Florida and set a way to hire more women and minorities at the University of California, Davis.

She has also served as a provost, so she already has experience in the position.


Langland certainly has an impressive resume, but that’s about it. Nothing stuck out about Langland or about her plans.

Walter Harris Jr. – Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Loyola University, New Orleans


Harris said he plans to improve university programs. He also said he wants to connect the students to faculty more to improve retention.

While many of the candidates mentioned their attention to diversity, Harris is the only one who doesn’t sound like a talking head. He would bring more diversity to the Kent State staff and we trust that he would keep this in mind while being provost.

As provost at Loyola, it helps that he has experience in the position.


Harris received a vote of no confidence from the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences at Loyola. The Loyola newspaper, The Maroon, reported that faculty was unhappy with Harris’ being hired as Loyola provost in 2003.

The search committee should take caution to their unhappiness.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.