Dr. Brent Carbajal Appointed Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs
I am writing to provide an update on leadership for Western’s Academic Affairs Division. First, I once again convey my deep appreciation, and that of our Western Community, for the leadership provided by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Riordan. Thank you, Catherine!
As outlined in an earlier communication and following Provost Riordan's announcement, I immediately began meeting, most often individually, with deans, with leaders of our trustees, faculty, students, professional staff, and classified staff to discuss the future of Academic Affairs at Western. I also had the benefit of meeting with those in Academic Affairs who report directly to the Provost.
In what totaled 32 separate meetings, I learned a great deal. We explored several key questions. First on my mind was what might be done to ensure the success of a division at the core of what we are most about – and to ensure the effectiveness of its leadership. We talked about structural challenges, needs, and opportunities. We talked about the priorities and agenda for a next Provost. We talked about our shared responsibilities and commitments to Western and to doing whatever is necessary to sustain Western’s success in serving our students, our state, our mission.
We also talked about the nature of the appointment to come. I shared the idea of an immediate two-year, fixed term appointment as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. No “interim” or “acting” prefix, no immediate national search. At the end of the first year, we would then evaluate whether to move ahead with a search or convert the appointment from “fixed term” to “indefinite.”
The rationale was simple: launching a search now would mean two years of marking time: a year for a search while we had an interim; a second year as a new appointee got to know us. Times being what they are and with the momentum we have going, such a pause seemed to me to be unacceptable. If we could find the right person.
Among the many campus leaders with whom I spoke, support for the idea of making an immediate, two-year appointment was near 100%. And that was because there was also strong agreement on the fact that we do have the right person.
I am pleased to announce that Dr. Brent Carbajal has accepted appointment as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He will begin these duties on August 1, 2013, working in the interim to ensure effective transition for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and for the Provost’s Office.
I know you join me in expressing our thanks to Brent for his willingness to assume these responsibilities. And, I am sure you look forward, as do I, to the leadership he will provide and to the pleasure we will find in working with him.