Provosts Search Update: Plans for the Finalist Stage, Our Inclusive, Equity-minded Search

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

A Message from Kathleen Plinske, College President, Isis Artze-Vega, Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs, and Lauren Thomas, Inaugural Presidential Fellow

Our search for five provosts is well underway. As we shared earlier, the search launched on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, and was open until Monday, October 18, 2021. This communication provides a progress update and an overview of the upcoming finalist stage of the process. It also describes how we have upheld our commitment to conducting an inclusive, equity-minded search and the composition of our search committee and advisory teams.

Progress Update and Upcoming Finalist Stage

As a result of our intentionality in constructing the job description and other search materials (including the position website and profile), as well as in recruitment and candidate outreach, we attracted a total of 227 applications, 163 of which met our minimum requirements. We were extremely pleased with the depth and diversity, both in ethnicity and gender, of the applicant pool.

Over the past several weeks, the search committee has met to:

  • Establish the criteria for evaluating candidates considering and prioritizing the job functions, knowledge, skills, abilities, required and preferred qualifications, and desired candidate characteristics
  • Engage in deep reflection and to challenge one another to think beyond the traditional notions of merit and fit
  • Draft plans for the remaining phases of the search, all the way to the finalists’ visit to our campuses
  • Identify which candidates will be invited to the next phase of the process

In late October, 71 candidates were invited to participate in an asynchronous digital interview via HireVue. Just this week, the search committee met to provide their feedback. Finalists have been identified, and our Organizational Development and Human Resources team has begun reaching out to them regarding the finalist stage. We anticipate finalist interview open forums during the week of Monday, November 29 through Friday, December 3, 2021. Faculty Forums are tentatively scheduled from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Employee Forums are scheduled from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. throughout the week. Please save the dates, so that you can participate and provide us with your feedback. It will be extremely helpful in making the final decisions.

An Inclusive, Equity-minded Search

This search has been designed and conducted in a way that enacts our commitment to inclusion and equity-mindedness, guided in part by the recommendations of the Equity-mindedness in the Employee Experience work team.

Key steps that exemplify inclusion and equity-mindedness:

  • The development of a new job description, one that explicitly requires “experience creating and/or leading initiatives and programs that have contributed to an inclusive, diverse and equity-minded working and learning environment” as well as the expectation that candidates have “knowledge of and [a] commitment to inclusive, equity-minded, culturally responsive, asset-based and/or justice-oriented practice”
  • The identification of a search committee that includes individuals with diverse identities who bring varying and valuable voices, knowledge and perspectives to the process
  • Required committee member training on inclusive searches and the role of unconscious bias
  • The use of standardized rubrics to guide the evaluation of applications, to minimize the impact of unconscious bias
  • The creation and utilization of standardized rubrics (based on a prioritization of the knowledge, skills, and abilities outlined in the job description) to evaluate the applicants and to minimize the impact of unconscious bias

Search Committee and Advisory Teams Named

Designed through the lens of inclusion and equity, the provost search process includes the establishment of a search committee and five advisory teams to support the search. The search committee consists of 18 members representing a wide variety of roles at the College, including representation throughout campuses, divisions and disciplines. The individuals named to the search committee were selected based on their response to the self-nomination survey included in the College Update email from College President Kathleen Plinske on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, and the corresponding article that was published in The Grove. This committee is charged with supporting the discernment process and providing feedback throughout.

The advisory teams are charged with helping to design the on-campus engagement opportunities for the provost finalists and to provide feedback from the perspective of the student demographics, program mix and community needs in their region or division. The individuals named to the five Advisory Teams were selected based on a combination of role and response to the self-nomination survey. For a list of search committee members and advisory team members, click here. 

If you have any questions about the search process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at, or Carla McKnight, vice president, organizational development and human resources, at or 407-582-1756.

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