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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Forum grills provost finalist

    Forum grills provost finalist

    Provost candidate Meredith Hay, vice president for research at the University of Iowa, addressed the UA community yesterday about her vision for the UA.

    “”The UA’s ambition to join the top 10 public research institutions is a very realistic goal,”” she said. “”This is the best land grant university west of the Mississippi.””

    Over 100 people attended the forum at the Student Union Memorial Center’s North Ballroom from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

    Hay said there were three major reasons for her interest in the UA: it’s commitment to excellence in science and research, it’s foundation as a land grant university and its location in the southwest.

    Faculty recruitment and retention, ensuring access to all students and advancing diversity are the main challenges facing public research institutions, Hay said, adding that she would be committed to furthering progress in all three areas.

    “”You can’t be classified as world class unless your student body is diverse,”” she said. “”Globalization is changing the fabric of our society and education needs to produce individuals who can work with people of diverse backgrounds.””

    Hay said the student graduation and retention rates are also major areas of concern.

    “”At Iowa, the strategy of implementation centered around the philosophy that access and success are the responsibility of the entire state and the entire community,”” she said.

    Hay said her experience at the University of Iowa would help her perform her duties at the UA, mentioning Iowa’s college transition course and emphasizing the importance it plays in helping new students succeed.

    Throughout most of her speech, Hay outlined ways in which she would work with UA staff and faculty in order to fully represent the university community.

    “”I’m very inclusive and I’m not afraid to hire people smarter than I am,”” she said.

    “”Talented faculty make advances real,”” she added.

    After Hay’s speech, the floor was open to the audience for questions.

    Keith Humphrey, assistant dean of students, director for the Dean of Students Office and director of the Parents and Family Association asked Hay about her views on domestic partnerships for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

    “”Most universities have benefits for domestic partners and this ties in to retaining world class faculty – if the goal is to advance the workplace…how would you build a family friendly, very flexible environment?”” he asked.

    Hay said commitment to diversity was the best way to ensure that the university is representing the public.

    “”We all have to be equally valued as faculty and engaged in a shared governance and responsibility,”” she said.

    Hay was also asked about the state budget deficit and how she would deal with lawmakers who don’t seem to support higher education.

    “”I think the key to advancing is getting out into the state where those legislatures lives and work and make sure the message of your commitment to excellence gets out there to those communities,”” she said.

    Hay said university officials need to ask more personalized questions.

    “”(We need to ask), what can the university do for you? How can it help your economy and how can it make you life better?”” she said.

    Mike Shaheen, an undeclared freshman, said he thought Hay was approachable.

    “”She seemed to be really open-minded,”” he said. “”New topics were brought to her attention and she always focused on communication and that shows she’s flexible, which is so important to her (the provost) position.””

    When asked what she would do to help make student life easier, Hay said she would work daily with student leaders on campus and try to make sure every decision that affects students is addressed.

    “”I want to bring everyone to the table and help come up with the answers,”” she said.

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