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Feb. 14, 2013

Provost candidates provide vsions for success

By Brittney Schmies and Samah Assad

Cleveland State University’s long running search for provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs draws to an end as the final four candidates share their visions and plans for the university.

In an open forum in the Main Classroom Auditorium, each candidate discussed their visions and plans they would implement at Cleveland State if they were to become provost. Additionally, they tied in their past experiences as deans and provosts to how they would further the success of Cleveland State. While each candidate did find several areas for improvement or change, they also recognized current steps and achievements of the university.

Dr. Keith Moo-Young

Dr. Keith Moo-Young, dean and professor at the School of Engineering at California State University, addressed just under 50 staff and faculty members on Feb. 5.

Moo-Young recognized the transformation of the state economy being dependent on the graduation rate of college graduates. He explained how the current cost of dropout rates is affecting the state itself, and identified the current amount of wages lost as $129 million in Cleveland alone, and the steps Cleveland State has already taken to make advancements.

A shift from agrarian and rurual goals to urban focuses puts Cleveland State on the track for success.

“You really are, as Cleveland State University, looking to be the nation’s premier urban serving university with a focus on a high level of research accomplishments that provide the state of Ohio with high quality graduates who assist to transform regional economy for global competitiveness,” Moo-Young said.

In order to achieve this vision, Moo-Young touched on several steps that need to be taken by the university as well as things already being done.

Community engagement is one of the things Moo-Young cited as being done by Cleveland State already by leveraging their location within the city and using opportunities, to foster public and private partnerships to stabilize enrollment, fundraising and cultural entrepreneurship, which he says come with great rewards, are all ways maintaining economic stability can be achieved.

“I like to call it my approach of the four Ps when I look at institutional internal aspects…I say you have to have the right processes, procedures, policies, and you got to have the right people on the bus,” Moo-Young said.

Moo-Young also fielded questions from some of the faculty and staff in the audience mainly dealing with differences within the departments and colleges of Cleveland State. Research, scholarships, grants and curriculum were all brought into question in terms of dealing with the differences needed depending on the field.

Aside from identifying specific needs for the departments raising the questions, Moo-Young referred to metrics and bench marks concerning each department. He explained that each department will have different benchmarks for success, accomplishment and resources.

He also shared how he currently achieves success.

“Framework and fundamental strategies in leadership, guidance and principles to successfully accomplish goals,” Moo-Young said. “We operate based on strategic planning and direction. We are constantly in the mode for planning the next big, latest and greatest thing.”

Dr. Ron Brown

On Thursday, Feb. 7, candidate Dr. Ron Brown of Wayne State University outlined his vision for Cleveland State by proposing how he would help increase the university’s retention rates.

Brown mentioned that Cleveland State must consist of more successful undergraduate programs so students can graduate, and that retention rates are “everybody’s responsibility” – an idea that he said Wayne State functions by.

“This needs to be a student centric institution where students can be successful,” Brown said. “I know that you all have struggled with issues of retention, and that certainly needs additional work.”

Brown touched on his experiences in urban environments and colleges, as he has taken on the role of dean for three colleges. In his role as dean of Health Professions and Social Work at Temple University in Philadelphia, he said less than 1000 students were enrolled at Temple when he arrived.

According to Brown, the college transformed as this number later grew to around 5,000 students, bringing life to what was once a smaller campus. He connected this to Cleveland State, stating how revamping certain areas of the university can completely alter the campus as a whole.

“I think what I’ve learned over the years is the difference that an urban university can have in the life of a community,” Brown said, “and not only in the life of a community, but for the students that go to college.”

A large part of creating a successful campus, Brown explained, is recruiting the most qualified faculty for the university and strengthening its search teams. He also pointed out that the decline in economic resources to support Cleveland State and its faculty must be changed. Assisting the faculty to cope with this through additional revenue streams that support the university will change the quality of life at Cleveland State, he said.

“The university is its faculty,” Brown noted. “They are the most important thing, and they bring the accomplishments.

“You can put up buildings, you can put infrastructure, you can put up resources and buy wonderful equipment. But if you don’t have people to do the creative achievements and to do the life-changing experiences that students receive, you’re not going to have a university.”

Brown stressed the great potential he sees in Cleveland State with the many students who attend, referring to it as “an institution that offers people hope.” He envisions an even more successful urban campus if he were to be selected as provost.

“This is clearly an institution that gives people hope — that gives people a vision, that will help people transcend the social classes, that changes peoples lives,” Brown said. “And that’s not to be underestimated.”

Dr. Deidre Mageean

Dr. Deidre Mageean, member of the Council of Graduate Schools, addressed staff and faculty members on Feb. 12.

Recognizing the critical role education plays in many aspects, she applauded the current steps Cleveland State is taking, including the identity and brand of Engaged Learning.

“I sense the university is on the move in the right direction,” Mageean said. “...I feel that is something quite palpable for this campus.”

Building a sense of community is a major step Mageean would take if she were to be chosen.

In order to make changes in is area, Mageean refers to what she calls acronyms — recruitment, retention, rigor and relevance of degrees and access, affordability and attainment (completion of degrees).

One of the major problems facing universities, Mageean said, is cost and debt.

“Part of making sure debt is not run up is making sure students are advised well, that they understand the career path, that they understand the pathways merging the relevant and rigours and plyable degree,” Mageean said.

In order to achieve this understanding of debt and pathways Mageean calls for improvements in advising, mentoring and peer tutoring as well as financial literacy.

In addition to focusing on the improvement of students and curriculum, Mageean recognized the importance of the faculty. Faculty, not administration or students, is tied to the university for the long run — it is necessary that they receive incentives and benefits for their work and achievements toward the improvements of Cleveland State.

“Faculty are clearly an extraordinary part of moving this forward, they are the people who are here and endure,” Mageean said.
The audience asked Mageean questions that delved deeper into the points she had made in her opening statements. Questions concerning research, the value of liberal arts and digital future, and prioritizing were raised.

On all accounts Mageean saw the value in each department as an individual, but also recognized that in the end decisions have to be made. Everything has its own metrics, measures of success and is weighted as such, she explained. She added that decisions are made for the best benefit and that clear communication behind decisions is key to success.

Today Dr. David Francko, University of Alabama, will address faculty, staff and students about his vision and plan for as well as his experiences and qualifications. President Berkman will make the final decision of who gets selected. A selection will hopefully be made by April and the position will be filled by August.