Students Called on to Help Pick a New Provost
By: Jacquelyn Smiley
Adelphi University has begun the steps to hire a new Provost. This important position is the Chief Academic Officer of the institution. According to the University website, “the Provost leads the University in its academic planning and sets goals, policies and practices in the context of shared governance. The Provost has leadership and oversight responsibilities concerning a complex set of activities that are vital to the University’s success as an institution of higher learning. Equally important is working closely with various internal and external constituencies and partners.”
A search committee kicked off the process on March 17 and there are now two finalists, Dr. Marsha Tyson Darling and Dr. Christopher Storm. Whoever is hired will be expected to “offer visionary leadership, the ability to move things from concept to implementation, and the ability to manage a variety of leadership challenges and opportunities.”
They are responsible to promote academic quality; support faculty scholarship and teaching; support diversity and inclusion; develop and provide oversight to budgetary and resource allocation; focus on student success; and work closely with President Christine Riordan on strategic initiatives, including Momentum, Adelphi’s strategic plan.
The Search Committee arranged forums with both candidates earlier this month, and that they will have several rounds of interviews with different campus committees before we will know who will be picked.
Dr. Darling has been at Adelphi for over 20 years and is the Director for the Center for African Black and Caribbean studies, Director for the Diversity Certificate Program, and the Director for the Truth Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Center. Dr. Storm has been at Adelphi for 14 years and currently holds the position of senior associate provost for faculty advancement and research. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.
In the student forums the week of May 3 candidates made 20- to 30-minute presentations followed by a Q&A through Zoom. Students had the opportunity to ask the candidates whatever questions they chose and have their opinions voiced throughout this process. Questions were focused on topics such as vaccines, career research, improving the community aspect of Adelphi and ensuring a welcoming and equitable community.
Recordings of these interviews are available at https://intranet.adelphi.edu/hr/recruitment-and-searches/provost-search/ along with a survey that will be administered to their Adelphi emails after viewing the forum for each candidate so students. can share their thoughts about who they believe to be best suited for the position of Provost.
When asked by The Delphian why they want this position, both candidates had a lot to say. Dr. Darling responded: “I have applied to be the Provost at Adelphi University because I will bring academic leadership and values and principles aligned with the changing world that we live in; vision regarding what is important at our institution and in the world; deep experience in academia regarding teaching, scholarship and service; experience building relationships with faculty stakeholders; and two decades of mentoring students and faculty across Adelphi’s colleges and schools.”
Dr. Storm said: “As Provost, I will be a consistent voice to ensure that the benefit of our students is at the core of academic decision making. We must meet our commitment to be relentlessly dedicated to student success by offering clear paths to timely degrees and an education that promotes agency, socio-economic mobility and a life of fulfillment. We must also make the University a place where students of all backgrounds and perspectives are welcomed, included and able to freely engage in honest intellectual inquiry.”
Students and other Adelphi members can voice their perspectives about the candidates by completing a survey that will be emailed to all students immediately after they view the forum. This feedback will be compiled and presented to the Board of Trustees and President Riordan. They will meet with both candidates to make the final decision.
The job of Provost is critical to decision making that affects all students. With two candidates who bring very different experiences, this is a very important opportunity for the Adelphi community to make their views known about what the university will look like in the coming years. Students are encouraged to make their thoughts known in the surveys and study the candidates’ curriculum vitaes and the provost job description.
The Instagram page @BlackAtAU has already shown their support for candidate Dr. Darling on their social media pages. There students and alumni are indicating they back Dr. Darling’s commitment to the University and the success of diverse students.
Black Students United e-Board member Monique Marcelle, said, “I believe in what Dr. Darling can bring to the campus. They have always been there to listen to what students' concerns are and have extensive experience for both academic and faculty leadership. In these complex times, I trust Dr. Darling to look at the big picture and lead the university towards the goals of equity and equality.”