Campus Continues Search For Provost

The search for the chief academic officer of SUNY New Paltz is entering its final stages this March.

The search committee for the college’s next provost, who the five deans of each academic unit will report to, has reviewed applicants and is now interviewing finalists for the position.

President Donald Christian said the 15 committee members have been reviewing applications.

“They wanted to kind of test the basis for how they score or judge the [them],” he said.

Chief of Staff Shelly Wright, member of the search committee, said the search is progressing on schedule according to the official timeline on

The advertisement for the open provost seat was approved on Nov. 10, 2011, after Dr. Cheryl Torsney assumed the interim position on July 15. Torsney, who previously served as vice president and dean of Hiram College in Ohio, took on the role after Dr. Laurel Garrick Duhaney chose to step down.

An interim provost was appointed after Christian, who served in the full-time position for approximately 10 months, was named interim president after Steven Poskanzer took his current job at Carleton College.

Torsney does not wish to announce whether or not she is a candidate for the full time position.

“This is a personnel issue [and] I’m not at liberty to discuss,” she said.

The group of semi-finalists participated in confidential off-campus interviews from Feb. 23 to 24, Christian said. Once consultants Jane Courson and Lucy Leske of Witt Kieffer executive search firm have performed background and reference checks, the committee will select finalist candidates from that pool who will be invited to campus for interviews. The timeline indicates these finalists should be interviewed this week.

The committee will reconvene the week after spring break to review feedback and make a recommendation as to who should be appointed provost to the president.

The official advertisement for the position said college officials are looking for a chief academic officer who will maintain a rigorous and challenging curriculum, encourage faculty scholarship and creativity and oversee academic personnel decisions and resource allocation, among other duties.

As the provost search continues, others for academic officials on campus are also progressing.

Committees responsible for recruiting new deans for the School of Education and the School of Science and Engineering have begun screening applications for the open seats, Christian said.

Earlier this year, Professor Daniel Freedman assumed the role of interim dean of the school Science and Engineering following Daniel Jelski’s departure. Karen Bell was appointed interim dean of the School of Education in December 2010, succeeding Robert Michael.

Wright said these searches are following a timeline that would allow the new deans to be hired after the provost, who the search committee hopes to be appointed no later than April 1.

“They are pacing similarly to the provost search, just a little behind because we would like to hire their boss first,” she said.