Piled-up boxes and folders on Vice President of University Advancement Brad Mortensen’s desk are the last remaining vestiges of Weber State University’s search for a new provost.
“It was a relief to have found someone,” said Mortensen, who served as chair of the provost search committee. “Seven months is a long time.”
The seven-month-long search ended early in May when Madonne Miner was chosen to be the next provost.
Miner, a WSU English professor and dean of the Lindquist College of Arts and Humanities, will replace Michael Vaughan who has served as provost since 2004. As the provost, Miner will be in charge of all academic affairs at Weber State.
Vaughan announced last fall that he would be stepping down as provost at the end of June. According to a press release from Weber State, after taking a sabbatical, Vaughan intends to return to teaching in the classroom, as well as leading the university’s Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality.
During the first round of the selection process, Miner faced heavy competition for the position as 59 candidates from 29 different states and three different countries filed applications with the university.
“People who apply for a provost position are usually very accomplished academically, which tends to make their applications very long,” Mortensen said.
Still, after reviewing all entrants for several months, Mortensen and his committee of 22 members from around the university narrowed down the candidate pool. Following a round of personal interviews, four finalists were selected.
The finalists were invited to present their opinions about the importance of obtaining a college education in today’s society at panels held on campus throughout April.
WSU student body president Joe Favero was the student representative on the search committee. He said he was thankful for the opportunity to be actively involved in the selection process, adding that it was very clear that the university valued the opinions of its students.
Explaining the final selection of Miner, Mortensen said that her commitment to Weber State as a teaching institution made the difference in the end.
For Miner, her commitment to teaching extends beyond Weber State and can be traced back all the way to her childhood.
“When me and my siblings were younger, we built a little classroom in our home, and I was usually the teacher,” she said. “I don’t know if my siblings learned anything from me, but I really loved teaching them.”
Miner, a native of Wisconsin, eventually began her career in higher education at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. After her time at the University of Wyoming, Miner spent 10 years at Texas Tech University before she accepted a teaching position at WSU in 2007.
As part of the faculty at Weber State, she also served as dean in the College of Arts and Humanities for the last eight years. In this position, she became interested in the administrative processes involved in running a university.
She was also able to foster professional connections to Vaughan and Weber State President Chuck Wight and gained much respect for their work.
“When I heard that provost Vaughan was retiring, I decided to throw my hat in the ring,” Miner said.
According to Miner, the core of her motivation was to keep WSU on the course set by Vaughan over the past 11 years.
“Unlike most of the other candidates, I already knew many people on campus and the direction the university is going, which probably gave me an advantage,” she said.
Since her appointment, Miner has attended meetings and said that she continues to learn and to be fascinated by the variety of tasks her new position entails.
Miner will officially assume her new position on July 1.