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Provost Search Washington State University

Key Opportunities and Challenges for the Provost and Executive Vice President

Lead efforts to develop a comprehensive model for an exceptional and seamless student educational experience across all campuses

The Provost will help address the student experience holistically in pursuit of the student success metrics outlined by the Drive to 25. Working in close partnership with the Vice President of Student Affairs, the Provost will explore and help tackle issues which act as barriers to student success, including limited scholarships, stipends, and other financial support for students, housing and food insecurity, and mental health services. The Provost will enhance academic programs to increase engagement and promote academic advising to boost student retention, facilitating policy and procedural changes that better integrate international and extension students and promote success.

Ensure and strengthen academic excellence and innovation

As the most visible champion for WSU’s academic enterprise, the Provost will develop a collaborative vision for the academic and research goals of the University. The Provost will continually seek additional avenues for development and support of all University faculty and staff who contribute to WSU’s academic mission. In coordination with faculty leadership within a system of shared governance, the Provost will enhance the teaching, service, and research enterprise of the University at all levels. The Provost will support excellent teaching through ongoing faculty development and support, promotion of innovative and inclusive pedagogy, and incentivizing interdisciplinary collaboration. The Provost will think strategically and creatively about how to recruit and retain excellent faculty across all the campuses, enhance faculty evaluation and recognition, and best serve the varied needs of differently ranked faculty. The Provost will also continue to build out infrastructure and guidelines to support and build capacity for research, with increased emphasis on STEM and other creative activity. Partnering with the Vice President for Research, the Provost will continue progress made from the External Review of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and increase momentum behind research engagement. The Provost will also keep a broad perspective on the University’s land-grant mission and ensure a focus on community outreach and meeting the needs of underrepresented populations. Bringing to bear significant experience in strategic planning and accreditation, the Provost will help the University adapt to changing trends in higher education and promote academic program excellence.

Strengthen collaborative relationships across the system

In close partnership with the President and working with the chancellors, the Provost will help this distinctive multi-campus University system mature in ways that integrate, embrace, and build upon the individual strengths of each of the six campuses. The Provost will provide collaborative leadership, forging connections and better integration across the system with a concomitant goal of ensuring a richer student experience through strengthened connections with student affairs, finance, athletics, and other functional areas. The Provost will provide a clear academic trajectory for the entire WSU system, working strategically and collaboratively as part of executive cabinet and multi-campus leadership. The Provost will mentor and empower deans to promote collaborative partnerships across campus- and system-wide projects. Both within and beyond the University, the Provost will promote the visibility and accessibility of deans to form meaningful connections, better serve the communities, the system, and facilitate partnership and development opportunities. To that end, the Provost will help steward a culture change that values bottom-up collaborative leadership for the benefit of individual units and the institution as a whole.

Develop a comprehensive system-wide enrollment management strategy

The Provost will guide the University’s growth through strong enrollment management and cultivate creative approaches for additional revenue streams. WSU is committed to improving the enrollment, retention, and progress to academic success journey for our students. To ensure this success, the Provost will lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive and coordinated system-wide enrollment management and completion strategy. Working with the Vice President for Student Affairs, this comprehensive plan for student success will transcend traditional structural boundaries with the outcome of undergraduate student success. This approach will ensure that efforts are strategically coordinated to improve retention. The goal is to achieve the same level of success for all students.

In collaboration with WSU communities, build programs with measurable goals to improve diversity and inclusiveness on all campuses

Work on equity and inclusion plays an important role in the Drive to 25, which calls for the University to establish a welcoming and inclusive environment. Working with WSU communities, the Provost will provide leadership, professional development, and accountability to enhance dialogue and strategic messaging about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Provost will establish goals for inclusive pedagogy and practices, provide support structures for concerted efforts to hire and retain diverse faculty, and ensure that each WSU entity doing this crucial work is sharing its best practices. The Provost will promote a greater sense of community and opportunities to meet the needs of a diverse student population hailing from across the state, country, and world. By promoting the value of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment within higher education, the Provost will be a primary champion for free speech, academic freedom, and the life-changing value of a WSU degree.

Establish strong operational and management processes to support WSU’s growth and success

In close collaboration with the Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Provost will advocate for academic affairs and prioritize operational and fiscal pathways that best support the academic mission. As WSU continues to grow, the Provost will lead strategic implementation to optimize operational processes for individual campuses regarding infrastructure, physical capacity, and allocation of resources. The Provost will manage and coordinate this growth by bringing perspective on the future of higher education and how to adapt to emerging fields and expanding online resources. The Provost will help guide multi-campus academic budget and financial model discussions alongside their implications for faculty, staff, students, and programs as a whole. By applying well-developed academic budgeting knowledge and familiarity with funding models, the Provost will promote a strong and financially sustainable academic enterprise.

Serve as a WSU ambassador and academic champion, enhancing the visibility of the University system locally, nationally, and beyond

The Provost will play a key role in promoting and marketing the University’s academic activities internally and externally, working closely with the local community and state legislature to ensure WSU is responsive to the educational needs of the regions in which the campuses are located. As the President’s primary proxy when the President is absent, the Provost will contribute to enhancing town-gown relations within the city of Pullman and engage in fundraising and donor cultivation where appropriate. Through participation in national conferences and other professional associations, the Provost will continually engage in thought leadership on the future of land-grant universities in the 21st century. By staying true to the University’s land-grant ideals of access and equity, the Provost will enhance WSU’s ability to deliver transformational education across the state of Washington, the United States, and internationally.