Provost to retire

Rachel Abbey

Gaston to keep position during search, plans to become English professor

Paul Gaston looks forward to the upcoming academic year, which will be his eighth and final year as Kent State’s provost, he said. He will retire, but plans to stay at Kent State as a faculty member in the English department.

“I feel a very deep tie to Kent State and look forward to completing my academic career here with the faculty,” he said.

Gaston will continue to serve as provost for the 2006-2007 year as President-elect Lester Lefton begins his leadership at the university. Gaston said he will be able to help make the transition smoother and get Lefton acquainted with the academic affairs at all eight campuses.

The search can begin this year, Gaston said, and there will be no need for an interim provost. The search has not yet begun.

A good provost needs both strong academic values and effective managerial skills, he said.

“The clich‚ is that management is doing things right and leadership is doing the right things, but if you don’t do things right, you won’t have time to do the right thing,” Gaston said.

Gaston said he spent a lot of his time at Kent State helping to create a more effective and transparent academic structure, reorganizing areas such as the College of Communication and Information and the College of the Arts.

“I’m proud of the faculty leadership there,” Gaston said, looking back. “I see my role as making happen what the faculty wanted to happen.”

He said the university has been able to make academic progress since he’s come to Kent State, despite the five university-level budget cuts in the past seven years.

The average tenure for a provost is about four years, Gaston said. After this year, he will have been Kent State’s provost for eight years and a university provost for about 13. He worked at Northern Kentucky before coming here.

“That is a lot of time to serve as provost,” he said. “I’ve always kept a very strong interest in teaching and scholarship, and it’s appropriate that I give that my attention at this time.”

Gaston began teaching in 1969 and became an administrator in 1983. He has worked at Southern Illinois and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, as well as Kent State and Northern Kentucky.

Contact copy desk chief Rachel Abbey at [email protected].