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Last three provost candidates visit campus

This is part two of a two-part provost search series

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, March 15, 2012 09:03

David Stern


Paul Devito


Divina Grossman


Over the past two weeks, the last three finalists in the search for provost have come to campus.

Paul DeVito, Divina Grossman and David Stern all visited within the past few weeks and shared their past experiences and goals for Loyola. Paul DeVito

DeVito currently serves as the vice provost of Academic Affairs at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He said he values the Jesuit ideal of addressing social justice issues. Riffing on St. Ignatius’ quote about social justice, DeVito said, “You can’t set the world on fire if you’re sitting in your office.”

On both university and federal levels, DeVito has had experience with developing online education programs. Though students expect online education opportunities, DeVito said it cannot be their only method of higher education learning, because the university would not be educating each student as a whole person.

Though DeVito has no experience in construction projects, he does have experience in strategic planning. As vice provost of Academic Affairs, DeVito was involved in developing St. Joseph’s strategic plan.

DeVito has also been involved in revising its curriculum. DeVito helped make minor revisions on the university’s new curriculum. According to DeVito, this taught him that curriculum is more successful when it is phased in than when it is abruptly implemented.

As a leader, DeVito said he values teamwork. DeVito said he believes in a shared governance between students, faculty and staff. He does not believe in micromanaging deans and their departments, but rather in collaboratively setting goals and helping them if he is asked.

He said that acting as a part of a team is as useful as having previous experience as a faculty member. “I think a provost who has come from the faculty has a very good understand of how teaching, scholarship and service come together to support the mission of the institution,” DeVito said. Divinia Grossman

Since discovering her love of pursuing social justice, Divina Grossman said she has always felt the pull of Jesuit values.

“Outreaching to the community and engagement in the world has always been a part of me,” she said.

Grossman said she admires the commitment to community she has seen at Loyola.

Grossman is currently the founding vice president for engagement at Florida International University in Miami.

Grossman has experience with the importance of online education. As the dean of the nursing school at Florida International University, Grossman saw the need to convert an academic program from a traditional to an online format. Grossman obtained a grant that allowed the nursing school to launch a complete online registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program.

Grossman has also had experience in construction. After merging two of the university’s colleges into one, she supervised the construction of a building to house a new college.

Though she has no experience with revising a curriculum, Grossman said she has thoughts on it. Grossman said she feels it is important to focus on understanding the kind of graduate a university is trying to produce.

As a leader, Grossman said she values team work in most situations. Grossman said there are times when teamwork is not practical, and these urgent situations demand immediate action by one person or a few people.

As a provost, Grossman said she would lead by transparency and integrity. She said she would make sure her actions follow what she vows to do.

Overall, Grossman sees “many strengths with the faculty, students and the long tradition” at Loyola. Grossman feels she can bring her unrelenting work ethic as well as her value of protecting the intrinsic dignity of others. David Stern

Coming from a small, religion-oriented, liberal arts university similar to Loyola, the move to Loyola sounds almost seamless for David Stern.

Stern is currently the vice president for Academic and Student Affairs at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

Stern has experienced the difficulties of online education. He found that common templates for online courses needed to be created, so that “all online programs had the same look and feel so students weren’t jolted moving from one online course to another.”

Stern has also led and coordinated design and build projects. While vice president at Hamline, he had to work with others to accommodate the rebuilding of a science facility. They kept the project on schedule, and it was a profound learning experience for him, Stern said.

While on the Strategic Planning Steering Committee at University of Toledo, Stern worked with faculty to produce a strategic plan.

Stern has also had experience with curriculum revision. At Hamline, Stern collaborated with many others to create a revised curriculum. The committee had to focus on the development and reinvigoration of objectives for majors and departments. Given this experience, Stern said he understands the time it takes to carefully restructure a curriculum.

Stern said his leadership style is collaborative and respectful of others, and he is “willing to enter into analysis in public about priority and direction.”

Stern said he is excited that he will feel his commitment to social justice and diversity every day if he is selected as provost.

Jo Ann Cruz, head of the provost search committee and dean of the College of Humanities and Natural Sciences, announced that Teresa Soufas, a provost candidate, withdrew from the provost search. Soufas withdrew because of the demands from her position at Temple University, Cruz said. The provost search committee will meet this week to prepare its recommendations to University President the Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J. Faculty Opinions

Other than looking for a provost who has vast experience as a faculty member and an administrator, faculty and staff members have unique qualities they wish to see in a future provost.

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