Finalists selected for Southeast Missouri State University provost

Thursday, November 19, 2009 ~ Updated 11:25 AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: The dates and times of forums with Dr. Kathleen Rountree have been corrected.

Officials at Southeast Missouri State University plan to have a new provost in place by January.

Finalists for the position were announced Wednesday at a Faculty Senate meeting. Provost Dr. Jane Stephens, who announced her retirement in May, has held the position since 2000.

The three finalists were Dr. Thomas Erekson, dean of the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill.; Dr. Ronald Rosati, vice president for academic affairs and provost at Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y.; and Dr. Kathleen Rountree, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y.

Dr. Bill Eddleman, chair of the search committee, said 58 people applied for the position. The university contracted with Academic Search, a Washington, D.C.-based firm, to help with the application and interview process.

Southeast paid $65,000 for its services, said Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration. The firm's contract began in July and will continue until a replacement is named, she said.

"I think we saved ourselves money by using a search firm," Eddleman said.

He said the firm streamlined the process for the 10-member committee. Seven semifinalists were interviewed in St. Louis two weeks ago, he said.

The finalists will interview on campus during the week of Nov. 30. They will hold forums for public and faculty input and meet with department chairs, university officials and provost office staff.

Rountree will have forums Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Erekson will have forums at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 3. Rosati will have forums at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 4. All forums will be in the University Center Program Lounge.

Eddleman said the committee looked for candidates with administrative experience interacting with faculty. Experience dealing with budget issues was also an important factor, he said.

"That's obviously going to be an issue," he said, referring to grim predictions for future state budgets.

Stephens will step down from the position next month. In 2000, she came to Southeast from the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg, where she served as executive vice chancellor. She previously worked for Southeast from 1978 to 1994 as a history professor and in the Office of the Provost.

Eddleman said he does not expect Stephens' replacement to have as long of a tenure at the university.

"You would have to be very lucky in the administrative world to get someone for 10 years again," he said.

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