The race continues

The race continues

Jess Hodge

After narrowing down 75 candidates to three finalists, it looked as though Grand Valley State University was getting ready to make a final choice on who would succeed Gayle Davis as GVSU’s provost and vice president for student and academic affairs. However, after one finalist dropped her candidacy, President Thomas Haas called on the search committee to come up with an additional two candidates to interview. 

The two new candidates are James Hinterlong and Ian Davison. Hinterlong is currently serving as the special assistant to the provost for Virginia Commonwealth University and Davison is the dean for Central Michigan University’s College of Science and Engineering. 

Both Hinterlong and Davison have been given the same topic as the first three finalists so those who attend can hear them respond to the same questions and prompt. Hinterlong presented Tuesday, Jan. 31 to the campus community and Davison will present Monday, Feb. 6 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Denise Cobb, Stephen Esquith and Jann Joseph were the three original finalists who visited campus and interviewed over the past two weeks. Joseph was the one who withdrew her candidacy, telling the GVSU search committee’s co-chair Jon Jellema many of the things she wished to accomplish had already been done so at GVSU. Cobb and Esquith are still being considered for the position.

Jellema expressed the difficulty the search committee had when picking the original three finalists due to many of the candidates being well-qualified for the job. 

“After (Joseph) dropped out, the search committee met to discuss alternatives for moving the process along,” Jellema said via email. “Those alternatives were presented to President Haas whose choice was to bring two more candidates for campus interviews. (The) committee met to discuss the pros and cons of the other semi-finalists, and Davison and Hinterland were chosen.”

Once both Hinterlong and Davison have presented, Haas will be tasked with making his final decision on which of the four candidates he will choose as the next provost. Jellema said in addition to reviewing survey results, Haas will be provided with written comments from the provost’s cabinet, the president’s cabinet, members of the search committee and two board members who met with the candidates.

Also on the search committee is student senate president Ella Fritzemeier. Jellema said Fritzemeier has played an active role in the search committee by offering a student perspective that is helpful and insightful. 

Fritzemeier has previously said she found the search for candidates initially difficult, but later found it easier to find people who embodied what Davis has for 15 years: a student-centered focus. This is especially important for Fritzemeier, as she is the student representative on the search committee.

Haas will make a decision after he has all of the information regarding the final candidate which won’t be later than Friday, Feb. 10. 

 Fritzemeier is an active and respected member of the search committee. She more than holds her own with the other committee members, and committee members find her interactions with and reactions to the candidates to be both insightful and very helpful.