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September 30, 2014
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College begins search for interim provost

After the April 16 announcement of Marisa Kelly, provost and vice president of educational affairs, departing Ithaca College for a new provost position at Suffolk University, President Tom Rochon began an internal search process for an interim provost and vice president of educational affairs.

Rochon said his goal is to have a new interim provost, who would begin in the fall semester, selected and announced by the end of May.

“I would hope to make an appointment as soon as possible,” he said. “I can’t offer a timeline because so much depends on me getting clarity on what’s needed and who might do the best job and then on me reaching an agreement with that person.”

Nancy Pringle, vice president and general counsel, said Kelly’s decision to leave the college was not unusual given her commitment to the institution.

“If you were to look at patterns of provosts, even across the country, three to five years is what provosts are giving to institutions before moving on to other things,” she said.

The search process for an interim provost involves a series of informal consultations with members of the Faculty Council and the Student Government Association leadership, as well as deans and associate provosts, Rochon said.

Cedrick-Michael Simmons, president of the SGA, said he reached out to Rochon to request student feedback be considered with respect to the interim provost position, especially because members of the SGA meet with the provost and members of the Office of Student Affairs bi-weekly and monthly.

The interim provost will serve at the college for about one year or until a new permanent provost will assume the full-time duties of both provost and vice president of educational affairs, which Kelly has occupied since Brian McAree, former vice president of student affairs and campus life, retired in August 2012.

With plans to begin searching for a permanent provost in September, Rochon said the college will use an external search firm whose primary contribution is to help explain the opportunities and context of the college to a national pool of potential candidates.

“The search will, as a matter of course, be open for candidacies for people who may already be at Ithaca College as well as be an external search,” he said. “We have no predisposition in advance, either way, as to who might be hired.”

During the search process for a new permanent provost, Rochon said he will also appoint a search committee, which has always had student representation, as well as that of faculty and administrators. In 2010, during the search that led to the hiring of Kelly, one student sat among a committee of 10 other individuals, including three administrators, six faculty members and Pringle, who led the committee. The student was chosen from recommendations provided by the incoming executive board of the SGA.

Rochon said he hopes for the search to conclude near the end of the Fall 2014 semester, hopefully with an announcement of the new provost to be made in January.