VCU to add 3 new vice provost positions

When students return to campus in the fall, three new administrative faces will be on campus to greet them – the assistant vice provost for diversity, the associate vice provost for finance, and the assistant vice provost for institutional research and evaluation. All three will report to Roderick McDavis, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

“We’re really excited about all three of these positions,” McDavis said.

The assistant vice provost for diversity will be a first for VCU because it is a newly created position, while the others are a result of restructuring within McDavis’ office.

Edwin Blanks, vice provost for academic administration, said he will retire from VCU Sept. 1 under the faculty alternative severance option policy called FASO that allows certain faculty members to receive severance or enhanced retirement benefits upon resignation from VCU. McDavis said that when an administrative faculty member retires, restructuring often becomes necessary.

“If I were staying here for one or two more years, (McDavis) wouldn’t be doing this restructuring,” Blanks said, adding that without the FASO policy, he would need to work an additional five years to earn the benefits he will receive from that program.

“You could keep on working until you fall over at the desk,” he said. “The program was a nice way to get the same benefits at a younger age.”

Blanks currently handles a variety of tasks including institutional research, faculty bonuses and sick leave. McDavis plans to split Blanks’ duties among several other positions, two of which are the associate vice provost for finance and the assistant provost for institutional research and evaluation positions.

“(McDavis) will be taking in more of the faculty issues that I deal with,” Blanks said.

McDavis said, the assistant vice provost for diversity’s duties call for increasing and improving the diversity of faculty and administration at VCU.

The assistant vice provost for institutional research and evaluation will provide VCU’s administration with data about faculty tenure, undergraduate admissions and student assessment plus numerous others.

Duties of the associate vice provost for finance include oversight of the financial operations of VCU’s academic affairs as well as its $145 million operating budget.

McDavis said both positions require managing a large quantity and variety of data.

“A university ought to be guided by data when it makes decisions,” he said. “We believe that will help us have stronger and better academic programs.”

Meanwhile, McDavis said the applicant pool for candidates to fill the assistant vice provost for diversity and assistant vice provost for institutional research and evaluation positions will come from VCU’s current faculty and administration.

“I think we have faculty who have the qualities we’re looking for,” McDavis said. “We’ve had several inquiries from faculty on both campuses.”

Nonetheless, he said the university would consider external applicants if the internal search fails to produce a suitable candidate.

Michael Sesnowitz, dean of the School of Business, chairs the committee to cull internal and external applicants for the associate vice provost for finance position. Sesnowitz said his committee will begin reviewing applications for the associate vice provost for finance position May 13.

As for the other two positions, the assistant vice provost for diversity and assistant vice provost for institutional research and evaluation, the research process already is underway.

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