By Alisha Hockensmith/Assistant News editor

The first of five finalists in contention for the provost position visited campus and participated in two open forums — here’s what they had to say.

Dobney: Strategic plan key in achieving university goals

The first candidate for provost, Fredrick Dobney, spoke to a small audience in Brock Auditorium last Thursday.

Dobney earned a doctorate from Rice University and served as provost for nine years at two different universities.

He is currently a professor of history and provost/vice president of academic affairs at Western Michigan University.

Dobney said we need to focus on accountability, financial resources and defend the tenure system.

In order to show accountability, Dobney said we have to demonstrate we are doing the right things for the students.

“We have to create an environment that’s warm, friendly and personal not just for students, but for faculty and staff as well,” Dobney said at the forum.

“We have to find a way to continue to improve faculty and staff salaries. We have to find a way to remain current in laboratory and computing equipment … We need to provide first-rate instructional technology in the classrooms and we need to provide ongoing opportunities for faculty and staff development.”

Dobney said two things need to be done to help the university achieve its goals.

“The first thing that needs to be done with the strategic plan is to develop an implementation plan.

“The second thing I’d want to do is to develop good lines of communication with deans, chairs and faculty.”

Dobney said some of the qualities he would bring with him if he received the position of provost are good listening skills, understanding and empathy.

“I do have a sense of humor, which I think you need to survive as a provost.”

Dobney and each of the provost candidates are making two-day visits to meet the Eastern community, have lunch with students and answer questions in open sessions.

Eastern President Joanne Glasser will officially name someone to the position following each candidate’s visit to campus.

Newson: Listening and learning big factors in leadership skills

Roosevelt Newson, the second candidate for provost, spoke to a crowd of less than 20 people in Brock Auditorium Tuesday.

Newson is the dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University. He is a former full-time concert pianist and was dean at Georgia Southern University for five years.

Newson taught in Pennsylvania where he was nominated to work in the president’s office.

“I learned administration from the top down,” Newson said.

Newson said he is interested in being provost at Eastern because he identifies with the mission statement and likes the warmer climate and Eastern Time Zone.

He said he was looking for a good match, which he believes he might have found in Eastern.

“I like what I’ve read about this institution, I like what I’ve heard about your president and I like the state of Kentucky,” Newson said.

“It’s a job I held at bay for a long time because it’s a big job,” Newson said about the provost position.

He said he finds the concerns of a fine arts college aren’t exactly what he wants to deal with anymore.

Newson said one quality he would bring with him to Eastern is 16 years of experience in administration working at the dean’s level.

“I know the problems of many institutions,” he said. “I think … the number one skill I have is my ability to listen and my willingness to work collegically to resolve the problems of the institution. Given that I already have some background, most of the problems can be handled,” Newson said.

Other visits

D’Ann Campbell is making her two-day stop on campus this week. Meet her during an open forum at 11 a.m. today in Brock Auditorium. Other candidates will visit in up coming weeks.