Faculty appointed to serve in the Office of the Provost

The faculty fellows will work in three roles: faculty development, academic programs and academic personnel.

Three faculty members will serve as faculty fellows in the Office of the Provost for a year because of the recent promotions of two former members of the office, Provost Garnett Stokes announced Sept. 1.

Ken Dean was named the interim dean to the School of Law, and Pat Okker was named the interim dean to the College of Arts and Science.

“With their positions vacant, there was an opportunity to develop the administrative skills of some of MU’s talented faculty, while simultaneously addressing the work of the Office of Provost,” Stokes said in an email.

Anna Ball, an agricultural education and leadership professor, will serve as the faculty fellow for faculty development. Matthew Martens, the College of Education associate dean, will serve in academic programs. Mitchell McKinney, the department of communication chair, will serve as a fellow for academic personnel.

Stokes sent out an email July 21 calling for faculty members to apply for the position. Stokes said 32 faculty members submitted their applications to her office by the Aug. 4 deadline.

“The basis for selection was a combination of appropriate experience and skills for the positions and interests by the candidates in particular activities of the office,” Stokes said. “I was seeking a diversity of perspectives as well.”

The three faculty members said they were excited when they received notifications regarding their appointments.

With diversity being at the forefront of many conversations at MU, Martens said he will work to encourage the incorporation of MU’s core values in future academic programs.

“One of our most important roles, arguably the most important thing we do, is provide high-quality programs across a wide array of fields to a diverse array of students,” Martens said in an email. “In my role, I will try to help programs think about issues of diversity, equity and inclusion as they consider their future plans and directions.”

Ball said she will continue to practice the same approach in dealing with her new role in developing faculty.

“My approach has always been to be there for people, be a good listener, and recognize and maximize other's strengths for the good of the team,” Ball said in an email. “I don’t think that changes. I just think it means we have a chance to be there in deeper ways and listen better.”

Ball said her main aim in her new position is to find methods to encourage the faculty.

“I hope that the faculty community will know from the kinds of initiatives that will help them highlight their own success,” Ball said. “We have great faculty here, and I’m doing my job if everyone feels empowered.”

McKinney, who is the only faculty fellow working full time in the Office of the Provost, said his previous work as the department of communication chair will allow him to better address the needs of the community. In his previous role, McKinney said he was mostly involved with the support of students but now will be focusing on policies and issues of the faculty. He said he will use his previous experiences to expand his commitment to the school’s values.

With his first week completed, McKinney said adjusting to the new position has been taking some time.

“I feel like I am at a new student orientation,” McKinney said. “I’ve had a string of meetings where I take close notes. I come back to the office and try to assess all that I’m learning. I think that will go on for a certain period and then hopefully I’ll feel like that I’ve mastered what it is I need to be doing here.”

Edited by Claire Mitzel | cmitzel@themaneater.com

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