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Friday, January 16, 2004
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Many profs satisfied with candidates
Nowell Donovan, Arthur Herriott and Michael Mezey would all make excellent provosts for TCU, professors interviewed said. Faculty members have been talking about the three finalists since they were announced last week.

By Jarod Daily
Staff Reporter


University faculty members say all three finalists for the position of provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs are qualified candidates.

Last week, TCU geology chairman Nowell Donovan, Florida International University chemistry professor Arthur Herriott and DePaul University Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Michael Mezey were announced as the front-runners to replace current provost William Koehler when he retires at the end of the school year.

Although Donovan has never been a dean before — whereas the other two candidates have been — most of the faculty do not believe that lack of administrative experience would cause problems.

“Clearly, after careful consideration of some 60 candidates from across the country, the search committee believes, as I do, that Professor Nowell Donovan has demonstrated, over his many years here, the leadership skills necessary to work across department, college and administrative lines at TCU,” Ken Morgan, associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering, said in an e-mail.

Some faculty members said Donovan has had some administrative experience that would help him if he were named provost.

“He’s been doing a lot of important high-level things for years,” geology professor Arthur Busbey said.

Although Donald Jackson, professor of political science, does not see Donovan lack of dean experience as a problem, he said dean-level experience is a good thing for a provost to have.

“Being a dean requires one to work with many different departments across the board,” he said. “A provost has to make decisions about not only one college but across colleges. Experience as a dean strikes me as a useful kind of experience to have for a provost.”

Political science chairman Jim Riddlesperger said he has known Mezey for years and that he would be a good candidate.

“I think he’s a serious candidate,” he said. “I’ve had good professional interactions with him. I’ve done research with him, I’ve read his work and he’s read mine.”

Mary Volcansek, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said she has known Herriott since 1974, when he was her dean at Florida International University. He said he would be a good candidate for the position.

“I think we have more than one quality candidate in that group, and he’s certainly one of them,” she said. “He has good experience and he’s a solid administrator. He’s an excellent candidate, but he’s not the only one.”

Jackson said regardless of the individual candidates themselves, bringing in those with experiences from different institutions is generally a good idea.

“I think a new, outside experience is usually a good thing. Usually, but not always,” he said. “In terms of diversity of viewpoints, I think more is better.”

Jackson said previous administrators brought in from outside have been good for the university.

“I think (former chancellor Michael) Ferrari was great for TCU, and I am confident that (Chancellor Victor) Boschini will prove to be as well,” he said.

Reactions to the three provost candidates

“I think we have more than one quality candidate in that group, and he’s (DePaul University Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Michael Mezey) certainly one of them. He has good experience and he’s a solid administrator. He’s an excellent candidate, but he’s not the only one.” Mary Volcansek, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences

“Clearly, after careful consideration of some 60 candidates from across the country, the search committee believes, as I do, that Professor Nowell Donovan has demonstrated, over his many years here, the leadership skills necessary to work across department, college and administrative lines at TCU,” Ken Morgan, associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering