The Provost Vice President for Academic Affairs Search Committee continued the search by inviting six candidates to the University of La Verne campus to meet staff, faculty and students.
Each candidate was given two days to meet with the University community and to provide insight on his or her experience.
On the first day, the candidate met with faculty during a faculty forum.
On the second day, the candidate met with any others who were interested in meeting the candidate through an open forum.
During each forum, the candidates provided a short presentation on their opinions of the role of the comprehensive university in the 21st century. Following the presentation, the forum was open to questions by the audience.
The sixth and final candidate, Desdemona Cardoza, presented at the faculty forum on May 4 and at the open forum on May 5 in the Arts and Communications Building room 212.
Cardoza is currently the Dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences at California State University, Los Angeles.
The main focus of her presentation was to make sure that a comprehensive university should not have to deal with an identity crisis. She believes a realistic mission statement would help in averting identity issues.
“We have to find out who we are, what we are and be the best at it,” Cardoza said. “Develop and define your niche and make sure you stand out.”
The fifth candidate, Saeed Ghahramani, presented at the faculty forum on April 20 in the President’s Dining Room, and presented at the open forum on April 21 in the Arts and Communications Building room 212.
“After reading the University of La Verne Strategic Plan and visiting the campus for an interview, I am even more interested in the challenges of the office of provost,” Ghahramani said. “I believe that the major goals identified to convert the University to a nationally recognized university as an excellent regional institution are within reach.”
Ghahramani is currently the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass.
Teresa Shaw, the fourth candidate, presented at the faculty and open forums on April 17 and 18 in the President’s Dining Room.
Most of her experience has been in the Claremont Graduate University, having recently served as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
She is currently serving as the Vice Provost for the university.
“I was attracted by the built-in diversity and how we can use it as a strength,” Shaw said. “The University of La Verne is in a unique position to make a contribution.”
The third candidate presented was Lemuel Berry. He appeared to the faculty on March 30 in the Arts and Communications Building room 212 and at the open forum on March 31 in the Harris Art Gallery.
Berry was recently the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. He has had 31 years of senior leadership experience from being a dean at the School of Music in Alabama State University, Montgomery, Ala., to being the chairman for the music department at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, N.C.
Daniel Nelson was the second candidate presented to the faculty on March 27 in the President’s Dinning Room and at the open forum March 28 in the Arts and Communications Building room 212.
Nelson is currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Haven in New Haven, Conn.
“It is the provost’s job to mediate between the academic and the administrative,” Nelson said. “We are a part of a small team in a small boat. We need to work together to turn challenges into opportunities.”
Nelson chose to apply for the position because of the nature of La Verne. He likes to work for institution with “grit.”
The first candidate presented to the University was Fredrick Dobney, who is currently a professor of history at Western Michigan University. Dobney has served as provost for nine years in two different institutions.
The faculty and open forums were held on March 23 and 24 in the President’s Dinning Room.
“ULV embraces a philosophy which I find very attractive: people matter, values matter, people are valued,” Dobney said in an e-mail.
Many of the candidates stressed the need for open communication between the faculty and the administration. They also saw the need to strengthen the faculty and to maintain a strong internal assessment of institutional programs and procedures.
“One thing I have learned is that the greatest asset any university has is the collective brainpower of its faculty, staff, and students; it would be folly to ignore this resource,” Dobney said.
During each open forum, participants were given a questionnaire for rating the candidate.
The first set of questions ranked the candidate from zero to five on three categories, expectations and skills, requirements and other.
Each category had subcategories detailing specific qualifications.
The second set of questions was a number of open-ended questions asking the participant to comment on the candidate’s apparent strengths and weaknesses.
The participants were asked to complete the questionnaire and to return it to Judi Stillwell, special projects manager, in Founders Hall.
Community feedback from the University will be reviewed by the Search Committee and taken into consideration during the selection process, said John Linarelli, professor of law and PVPAA search committee chairman.
Andres Rivera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.