By Lianna Hubbard
After 14 years as a faculty and administrator, Eileen DeLuca was appointed provost on April 19.
FSW President Jeffery Allbritten appointed DeLuca provost a week after the search committee recommended the candidate it found both the strongest and the most familiar.
“Some of the things we are seeking in a provost are stability, trust, institutional knowledge, and the ability to deal with everything in this school and bring it together,” said Deborah Teed, dean of the School of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, and chair of the search committee. “We’ve seen these in one candidate predominantly.”
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.
DeLuca has been working at FSW since 2005, when she was hired as an adjunct professor. She worked her way up to vice president of academic affairs in 2014. In July of last year, Provost Jeffrey Stewart resigned amid accusations of sexual harassment and DeLuca became interim provost.
Many members of the search committee voiced a preference for DeLuca because she represented stability and continuity.
“I have worked under seven provosts,” said Wendy Chase, Honors Program coordinator and committee member. “I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to train another provost.”
DeLuca has plans to create some new FSW programs.
“The greatest area for growth is anything to do with computers and computer systems,” said DeLuca in her interview with the search committee. “Cybersecurity is a very hot topic. We hear from every part of the industry that we need students trained in this.”
DeLuca’s plans for cybersecurity programs comes with another computer degree coming on the way.
“We’re going to be proposing a bachelors’ in information system technology,” said DeLuca. “The industry is telling us that we need people who can do everything, from writing code, to engaging in programs, to writing systems. I think the students are very interested in it and there’s a need.”
She also plans to expand on strongly established FSW workforce programs.
“You need all kinds of levels of training for health professions,” DeLuca said. “We need to look at that. We need to respond to what Lee Memorial and our other partners are asking us for.”
The provost was chosen from a pool of 81 applicants by a search committee of 14 FSW faculty and staff. The committee recommended three finalists to Allbritten in mid-March. Each finalist gave a public presentation to the school and an interview with the search committee.
In her presentation, DeLuca focused on academic rigor and student support. She talked about the various programs and changes she instated as VP and interim provost.
“What we do as an institution, and what I do as a provost, is boost support to help students reach their goals,” said DeLuca in her presentation.
DeLuca rose over two other provost finalists, Scott Behrens and Donald Painter, Polk State College’s dean of academics.
Provost isn’t the only administrator position Behrens applied to. On April 5 he gave his presentation and interview for the dean of School of Education position.
“I really want to be a part of this institution,” said Behrens. “My own belief is that if we do education right, everything else falls into place.
Allbritten announced DeLuca’s appointment in an email to all FSW employees.
“In terms of stability, we know this is someone we can trust, we respect, and she will never end up on the front page of a newspaper in a scandal,” said Chase.