The search committee is currently in search of a person to fill the position of executive vice president and provost.
Currently, it’s Robert Pangborn — who has been in this position since November 2011, when Rodney Erickson became president.
Erickson previously held the vice president and provost position, acting as the university’s chief academic officer.
Not only do we need a good communicator — which is necessary for all members of the administration — but we need a person who is going to be visibly engaged administrator, remaining accountable right alongside the president.
The president of the university should be partnered with the executive vice president and provost at all times — during most, if not all, public events.
Though this is not technically a part of his role, the search committee should try to promote this aspect of the job.
The president and executive vice president need to be a team, especially now. Among being an academic, this new leader should remain dedicated to bettering Penn State academic ideals.
Though this could be a person from within the Penn State community, we don’t think it should be a member of the current senior administration. We would be open to a faculty member or a dean. Ideally, we’d prefer a new executive vice president who is from outside of the Penn State community.
This is a time for a clean slate.
We need new people, new ideas, new leaders.
As a new regime gets its footing, the executive vice president should make it his or her duty to be available to students and actively bettering the academic environment. Erickson set a good example in this position, though there is room for a different approach.
Holding this position from 1999 to 2011, Erickson oversaw resident instruction, research, outreach education and the general welfare of the university. On top of that, deans, vice presidents, vice provosts and other staff members reported directly to Erickson.
He also headed Penn State’s Core Council, which is the review committee responsible for identifying ways to cut costs across academic programs and administrative bodies.
If any changes like this are made in the future, we hope this new leader will have more conversation with those affected.
Both the president and executive vice president are in charge of running this university, which means transparency will be a huge facet of this position.
At an important time in our university’s history, we need to ensure that whoever takes over this executive vice president and provost leadership position is going to work effectively and efficiently for the Penn State community and move this university forward.