Special Message from the Provost
To the Campus Community:
I am writing to inform you that I have told President Lefton of my plans to step down as Senior Vice President and Provost of Kent State University at the end of the 2011-12 academic year.
Since becoming Provost in 2007, I have had the opportunity to lead the Division of Academic Affairs and a great leadership team of deans and talented faculty in making a significant contribution to the excellence agenda set forth by President Lefton. I am most proud of having directed the development of a new undergraduate philosophy of education; created a unified School of Graduate Studies; oversaw a doubling in growth of international students; made major revisions in promotion and tenure policy to emphasize scholarly productivity; and led us in planning new high-profile academic programs, including a College of Public Health, a School of Digital Sciences and a Center for Ecology and Natural Resource Sustainability.
At the close of our centennial, Kent State is on the solid strategic path needed to position us as a nationally prominent public research university. Academic excellence has become an institutional priority. We have great faculty and are increasingly attracting high-quality students from around the world while growing our enrollment to historic highs. In these turbulent economic and political times we have a sustainable financial position. All of this has contributed to Kent State being the second largest university in Ohio and recognized as one of the Top 200 universities in the world. There is much here to celebrate and I am delighted to have been a key player in the leadership team that has set the foundation for the university’s next one hundred years.
At age 59, you tend to reassess your priorities, and I’ve long dreamed of being a college president. Realistically, I’ve one career move left, and now’s the time to make it. By planning my departure, the university will have plenty of time to conduct a careful search for a new provost and benefit from a seamless leadership transition next summer.
President Lefton will convene a search committee immediately. In the coming transitionary year, my most important goals will be to lead the further improvements to Kent State’s graduate programs; boost research funding; implement a distance learning strategy; and direct efforts to increase student retention. With a great team, including senior associate provost Tim Chandler, we will continue to work hard to maintain the great momentum we have put in place.
With warmest regards,
Robert G. Frank