Wednesday, July 18, 2012
I attended the provost candidate's presentation Tuesday at 10:30. I believe the spelling of his name is Montamagna but I'm sure someone in the administration will correct me if I'm wrong. What I'm going to relate are truly first impressions. I have been out of town and Tuesday has been my only contact with the man. I have not even read the resume. My first impression is that he seems to have actually thought about issues not merely memorized the correct verbage and talking points. Second he has actually tried some things at his present post. Third he seems to have actually been a faculty member and not just a career admistrator. On the downside he used terms like economic engine and referred to the wonderful job the Jacobs' Administration has done here at UT. Of course, to expect someone to criticize the person who is responsible for hiring the new provost is a little over the top on my part. One item did bother me. He was asked what role he sees for the Humanities in the new university. His response was the humanities should help to create an environment (Toledo and surrounding areas) so that the really important folks (doctors, engineers etc.) who are creating real jobs will want to remain here. It was one of those yea you're in the plan but only from a superficial and roundabout perspective answers. Again, I liked that he has spent a great deal of time thinking about how you keep students enrolled, but he was working with engineers. I do not know, and neither does anyone else, how this translates into an open enrollment university. I have noted on this blog that to enroll a student who has no real contact with a university through the experience of friends or family and then expect that marginal student to succeed is just wrong on our part. It is a problem that will be confounded when we are not allowed to teach remedial classes. It becomes a throw them in the deep end and see who can swim and who can't issue. With the state looking at retention rates for funding models the challenges become quite large for the next provost and for the faculty. It is probably the kiss of death for his application, but I actually liked the guy.