For the past several months, UAA has been searching for a new provost. A national search process identified four candidates for the position: Murray Nabors, Neil Ringler, John Murray and Elizabeth Hendrey. In the end, pros and cons from the search committee were recognized and Chancellor Tom Case ultimately made the decision to hire Samuel Gingerich.
Diane Hirshberg, professor of Education Policy and Faculty Senate president, sat on the search committee to hire the new provost.
“We didn’t hire a provost out of the search. I was consulted by the chancellor as he was trying to decide what to do. It’s hard, because normally you do want a search to be successful and this ends up being a non-standard procedure. What I will say is I really liked some of the finalists, but I had some concerns on whether they had the depth of experience given the current situation,” Hirshberg said. “I believe that if we weren’t facing such a fiscal crisis and a lot of turning in leadership, then some of the candidates could have been mentored into being excellent provosts. I just think that at the time there was a lot of concern. I think that Samuel brings the strengths needed. I call him a ringer. He has been vice president of a system before, he’s been a provost, he’s been a dean, so I think he will bring a lot of insight and prospective.”
Samuel Gingerich talked to The Northern Light about his background experience.
“I grew up on a dairy farm in Northern New York. I attended college in Northern Indiana and got my undergraduate degree in chemistry. Shortly after I got a master’s in chemistry from Cornell University. After I took a couple year hiatus from education and did some other fun things. I re-enrolled in graduate school at Montana State University, got a Ph.D. in chemistry. I worked at the University of Nevada for a couple years, then got my first faculty position in chemistry at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I served as a faculty member there and was promoted through the ranks, earned tenure. I served as a department chair and then was given an opportunity to become the associate vice president of Academic Affairs. I left there in the late ‘90s and went to Colorado Mesa University and served as provost for a number of years. I was also given the opportunity to serve as the interim president for about 15-18 months. From there, I went to Mississippi University for Women, where I spent a couple years as provost vice president of Academic Affairs. At that point in time I got a call from some people I knew in South Dakota and they invited me to apply for the job as assistant vice president of Academic Affairs. I have spent the last eight years in South Dakota working. In June I retired from that position. My wife had begun working up here as the Associate Vice Provost from Institutional Research about a year ago. I sort of became the trailing spouse and came up here,” he said.”
Rashmi Prasad, College of Business and Public Policy dean, was the chair of the provost search committee.
“I think the chancellor was weighing the challenges of socializing and incorporating a new person into such a critical role in comparison to the fact that Sam Gingerich is extremely seasoned, very experienced, and also demonstrated that he was a very quick study and had a very good grasp of the situation,” Prasad said.
Amidst fiscal difficulties, searching for a new president, and dean searches, UAA has chosen Gingerich to spearhead issues within his specialty.