The first of four provost finalists to visit Youngstown State University stressed the importance of college affordability, accountability, accreditation, technological changes and competition.
YSU is having four open-forum sessions this week, the first of which was Tuesday, to introduce faculty, staff, administration, students and the community to the candidates. A provost is the university’s senior academic administrator.
David Starrett, dean of academic information services at Southeast Missouri State University, also serves as that university’s director of the Kent Library and director of institutional and programmatic accreditations.
Starrett stressed the need for colleges to be affordable and accountable to students. He said he wants to see retention and graduation rates go up. He also talked about keeping current with accreditation and technological changes and staying competitive to attract students.
Outside of academia, Starrett described himself as a plant biologist, a dad and a birdwatcher.
Starrett said he felt his experiences at Southeast Missouri State would relate to the YSU experience.
“It’s also a similar institution in size and scope, and it has familiar processes,” Starrett said. “The mission here is something I believe in. That’s why I’m interested in the job.”
Chester Cooper, a YSU biology professor and chairman of the provost search committee, said that just one month ago, the university had more than 150 applicants for the provost position. He said that number has been narrowed to a final four, all of whom are interviewing and meeting at open forums on campus this week.
The forums are taking place from 9 to 9:45 a.m. and 3 to 3:45 p.m. Graham Glynn of Mercy College will visit today, Nathan Richey of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania on Thursday and Cheryl Torsney of the University of Texas at El Paso on Friday.
After the first open-forum session Tuesday, Cooper said Starrett met with the provost’s office team, administrative leaders, union leadership, deans and department heads, the board of trustees and President Jim Tressel. Cooper said the interview schedule will be the same for all four candidates.
Cooper said the open-forum sessions allow anyone interested to question and comment on the candidates. He said each candidate gets two open-forum sessions – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
“Mornings are very class heavy,” Cooper said. “So if some people can make morning, some people afternoons, there’s more access to these sessions.”
Cooper said he was pleased with the various “representatives” who attended Tuesday morning’s session. He said he liked seeing faculty, staff, administration and students all represented.