By Lianna Hubbard
FSW held its first of three candidate presentations for the provost position on March 15 on Lee campus.
Around 40 faculty and staff listened to Eileen DeLuca, FSW interim provost’s, presentation on her vision for future FSW students as provost. Afterwards, DeLuca sat down for an interview and lunch with the 14-person search committee that selected her and the other finalists.
“We are an institution of higher education and we should always be focused on academic development,” said DeLuca on her topic of academic rigor and student support. “I want to keep that in the forefront of everyone’s mind as they are working here. We also know that some of our students have life challenges and we need to give all types of support. To me that’s big to what we do here.”
Provost is the leader of academics and student affairs at FSW. She oversees the creation of degrees, classes and curriculum, along with student activities like clubs and scholarships, and helps determines funding.
The search for a new provost has narrowed from 81 applications to three finalists. These three will give public presentations, sit for an interview and lunch with search committee and a dinner with President Jeffery Allbritten.
“We should have someone placed by July 1,” said Deborah Teed, the chair of the search committee and dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
The provost position was vacated in July when the former provost Jeffrey Stewart resigned amidst sexual harassment allegations that were later confirmed. DeLuca, who was associate provost, stepped in as interim.
DeLuca began at FSW in 2005 as an adjunct faculty teaching education classes. She became a full-time professor in 2008, an associate dean in 2010 and an associate provost (assistant vice president of academic affairs) in 2014.
“When I became provost, Dr. [Christine] Davis (the vice provost of student affairs) and I met and talked about the goals and revised them,” said DeLuca. “I set the goals for each division.”
DeLuca credits the development of many student programs with merging academic affairs and student services under one management, the provost.
FSW has been building its mental health awareness and support programs for the past few years.
Mental Health Matters events have become a near monthly tradition. FSW brings in speakers to discuss the issue, art and personal stories that come from mental health. Faculty leaders for the initiative are working on creating an Active Minds chapter at FSW.
“This really came together well when we put academics and student affairs under one roof,” said DeLuca. “We had activities going on over here and concerns from academic affairs. We had activities over here and concerns from student affairs. But they weren’t meeting and now we have a really focused goal.”
“There are so many great candidates,” said Teed. “Just excellent credentials and experience.”