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Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Job description



Individuals seeking the Provost position will find an involved University community with a new president ready for its next phase of success in advancing a broad and ambitious mission in the community, state, nation and world. The position offers opportunities to:

  • Engage with the University to shape, articulate and implement its vision as a university that is learner centered, discovery driven, and globally engaged.
  • Serve as the chief academic officer for one of 76 public universities designated by the Carnegie Foundation as “research universities with high research activity.”
  • Foster, build, and empower a diverse and cohesive leadership team.
  • Embrace and communicate change in a vibrant higher education environment.
  • Coordinate activities to bring together people from all areas of the institution in service to common goals.
  • Serve as both an advocate and inspirational leader for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Enhance a university with a national and international reputation for its undergraduate, graduate, and international programs.
  • Collaborate with all of the vice-presidential areas in developing and managing an effective and sustainable budgetary model.
  • Lead efforts to foster our shared goal of being a “university of first choice.”
  • Be part of a culturally-rich community that supports the university.
  • Provide leadership that fosters collaborative decision-making.

Qualities and Credentials of the Next Provost

The above opportunities for leadership, coupled with the University’s historic mission, aspirations, location and current statewide conditions, suggest that the next Provost should have a broad array of experiences, competencies, skill-sets and qualifications including:

  • An outstanding academic record.
  • A demonstrated commitment to student success.
  • A record of
  • An earned doctorate or appropriate terminal degree in an academic discipline and earned tenure with qualifications meriting appointment at the rank of full professor.
  • A demonstrated appreciation of and commitment to shared governance.
  • An understanding of and respect for working within an institutional labor force with collective representation and bargaining.
  • A commitment to both graduate and undergraduate education.
  • An ability to navigate diverse perspectives and foster a shared vision in the context of a university with 9 colleges, 11 regional sites, international collaborations, dedication to global perspectives and affiliations with law and medical schools.
  • Demonstrated skills or knowledge of enrollment management, budgets, resource allocation, negotiation, fundraising, and planning suitable to the complex nature of a public research university.
  • An ability to engage with all University constituents in a way that respects their roles and responsibilities, demonstrates open and timely communication, and builds consensus.
  • An appreciation of a wide variety of performance measures as appropriate in different disciplines.
  • A sustained record of high integrity and ethical behavior, creativity, energy, and the ability to inspire others.



Other Qualities and Credentials

  • —An innovative, collaborative leader with demonstrated skills, consistent with the management of a complex higher education organization. Experience with a research university (as defined by the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching) or comparable organization sufficient to document those management skills.
  • —Demonstrable experience in fostering a shared vision amongst a wide diversity of stakeholders. A record of seeing through the achievement of an institutional vision by aligning a strategic plan tied to resource allocation.
  • Consultative and Collaborative Decision Making— Evidence of building consensus to implement decisions and an ability to make and effectively communicate difficult decisions. A demonstrable commitment to collaborative decision-making including evidence of inviting others to share in the decision-making process at all levels.
  • —A demonstrable commitment to fostering diversity throughout the University, including recognition of the changing demographics of students and faculty. Enthusiasm for diversity and inclusion as a core value of our institution.
  • Planning and Budgeting—Successful supervision of management staff. Experience with higher education budget models, especially those including accountability and transparency incorporating elements of responsibility-centered models that reward productivity, effectiveness, and entrepreneurship. Demonstrated ability to manage financial resources, complex budgets and personnel. A commitment to efforts that increase the diversity of revenue streams and delegate responsibility for diverse tasks in a transparent fashion.
  • Advocacy and Style—Ability to lead by example, advocate strongly, and be an effective spokesperson for the University. This includes having demonstrated effective interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively with people at all levels. A leader who might be described as an “intellectual omnivore” who clearly demonstrates an authentic appreciation of a wide variety of activities as are found represented amongst those in our diverse community.
  • —A commitment to students and student learning as a basis for decision making in academic programming.
  • Undergraduate and Graduate Education—A clear comprehension of and commitment to both dimensions of WMU’s instructional mission, and an understanding of the centrality of graduate programs to WMU’s identity as a research institution.


Minimal Qualifications:

  • Earned doctorate or appropriate terminal degree in an academic discipline.
  • A record of progressively advancing higher education leadership responsibilities, positions and success.
  • Earned tenure with qualifications meriting appointment at the rank of full professor in a unit at WMU.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage financial resources, complex budgets, and personnel.
  • Experience with shared governance in a higher education setting.

Desired Qualifications:

  • An outstanding academic record (national/international profile) in an academic discipline.
  • Experience in and enthusiasm for teaching, research and creative scholarship.
  • Evidence of using a systems approach in analysis and problem solving.
  • Experience in internationalized curricula and global initiatives in higher education.
  • Experience in a collective bargaining environment.
  • A proven ability to communicate effectively.
  • Experience with undergraduate and graduate, domestic and international recruitment and retention.
  • A demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion.
  • Experience with budget models that reward productivity, effectiveness, and entrepreneurship.


The Provost Search Advisory Committee invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, full resume/CV, and contact information for at least five references), or expressions of interest to be submitted directly to Parker Executive Search. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to March 21, 2018. Please send all nominations and application materials to:

Laurie Wilder, President

Porsha Williams, Vice President

Jacob Anderson, Principal

770-804-1996 ext: 111

[email protected] || [email protected]

Western Michigan University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Minorities, women, veterans, individuals with disabilities and all other qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.




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Job No:
Posted: 1/30/2018
Application Due: 3/31/2018
Work Type: