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New provost next semester

After a semester with an interim provost, administration said Mills will have a new permanent provost by the end of the semester.

According to John Harris, chair of the executive search committee, the college is in the last leg of its internal search for a senior faculty member to permanently fill the position.

Four Mills faculty members have applied, undergone the three step interview process and await the final decision which will be made by the board of trustees on the recommendation of the President.

“We have conducted all the interviews and have had some conversations regarding recommendation to make to the president,” said Sally Randel vice president of the office of institutional advancement and a member of the faculty search committee.

According to a memo distributed by President Holmgren in the beginning of the semester, candidates needed to possess among other things, “a passion for the mission of the college as a liberal arts institution for women in a global multicultural society and a record of success in the fundamental elements of leadership, including academic planning, program implementation, allocation of resources, and evaluation of programs.”

The four candidates: Dr. Barbara LiSanti, professor of mathematics, Dr. Marianne Sheldon, interim associate provost and history professor, Mary-Ann Milford, professor of art history and Ruth Saxton, professor of English and dean of letters all have administrative experience, a commitment to the college, experience with budget issues and curriculum development,” said Harris.

Additionally they have been with the college for a long time and appear to be ready to tackle the colleges $2 million shortfall and pending layoffs.

“It will be a tough time. There will be tight control of the budget for the next couple of years,” said Harris.

“I’ve been here for 17 years and there is always a budget issue and these four people are not surprised by this.”

LiSanti, who feels she has the necessary skills and experience to do the job and provide some stability in the position, has not let the shortfall change her outlook toward the position.

“I understand that the value of the endowment is dependent on the stock market and have been aware of the decline over the past year, making a shortfall unavoidable,” she said.

“It was not a complete surprise when the president announced the problem. Hence, my view of the position did not change radically with the announcement of the financial issues facing the college.”

The other candidates made no comment.

In the start of the semester college officials decided fill the position with John Brabson, an associate professor of chemistry, who said he would serve as provost for the fall semester and would not be a permanent candidate for the position. Brabson filled the vacancy left abruptly by Susan Steele last spring.

According to Weekly Archives, the provost and dean of faculty position had been without a permanent appointment between 1999 and 2001. History Professor Bert Gordan served as acting provost prior to Steele’s arrival. Before Steele came to the college, she served as vice provost at the University of Connecticut between 1998 and 2001.