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UA to Host Community Conversations with Provost Finalists

A photo on the campus of The University of Akron.
The University of Akron has invited three finalists for the provost position to campus over the next two weeks.

The community is being invited to meet the finalists seeking to become executive vice president and provost at the University of Akron.

A search committee has chosen three candidates for in person interviews and campus visits over the next couple of weeks. They include current University of Idaho provost John Wiencek, former Howard University Engineering Dean Achille Messac and Western Michigan University Chemistry Professor Susan Stapleton.

A photo of Gary Miller.
Gary Miller became president of the University of Akron in October 2019 and has begun to help lay out a strategic vision for the university's future. The new provost will be responsible for carrying that vision forward.

Search committee chair Paul Levy, who heads UA's psychology department, says whoever is chosen will work in concert with new president Gary Miller.

“It’s the chief academic officer, it’s his partner, it’s the person who will help lead and move the university forward in terms of a vision and mission. There’s no doubt it’s a huge, huge hire.”

Levy says the search committee included 16 members. A search firm assisted in identifying potential candidates and Levy says there was a good number of competent applicants, though he would not reveal how many candidates applied. He says the committee conducted off-site interviews and all agreed on the three diverse finalists. 

Levy says the candidates have diverse backgrounds.

“They bring diversity in terms of background also some demographic diversity. They just really rose to the top of our candidate pool pretty easily.”   

Each of the candidates will appear for a conversation with the community in the Gardner Theatre at the Student Union from 1:30-2:30 on the following dates:  

February 24 – Dr. Susan Stapleton, Professor of Chemistry and Biological Sciences, Special Assistant to the Provost, Western Michigan University
March 2 – Dr. John Wiencek, Professor of Chemical Engineering, Executive Vice President and Provost, The University of Idaho
March 3 – Dr. Achille Messac, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, former Dean of Engineering and Architecture, Howard University.