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Search for new chief academic officer continues

Starting next fall, Concordia College will no longer have a provost. Instead, the title will change to vice president of Academic Affairs.

William Craft, president of the college, decided to make this change at the beginning of this year when the college began searching for a replacement for the current provost and dean of the college, Mark Krecji. Krecji will step down from his position to resume teaching and to pursue a deacon-hood in the Catholic Church. Craft says that the new title is more common at colleges of the same size as Concordia.

Linda Johnson, chair of the search committee for Krecji’s successor and professor of history, explained that the change has to do with the positions that report to the provost. She said that, generally, a provost has multiple deans who report to them and that this is not currently the case with Concordia.

Johnson explained that several changes have occurred within the structure of Concordia so that fewer positions report directly to the provost. She says that this will allow better access to the position, which the search committee is calling the chief academic officer. Johnson also said that the changes were not made because of current staff.

“When President Craft announced this change, he wanted to make clear that it in no way reflects negatively on the people who have held these positions,” Johnson said.

The committee began searching for a replacement at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year and is now nearing its end.The committee chose four final candidates who will visit during the month of March. The final candidate is expected on campus March 25-26. President Craft said that the committee will begin deliberations either before or after Easter break and that they hope to have an announcement before the middle of April.

The search began when the committee invited a consultant to campus in order to evaluate the needs and desires of members of the community. The consultant then provided feedback from which the search committee created a search profile, outlining qualifications sought in potential candidates.

After this, the committee requested recommendations and applications from across the country. They then began reducing the candidate pool through off-campus interviews, reference checks, surveys of individuals who met the candidates and resume evaluations.

Johnson said that all the candidates had done extensive research about Concordia by the time they wrote their letters of application.

“It’s interesting to hear their observations about the college,” Johnson said. “It’s interesting to hear what kinds of conclusions others draw about us.”

The final four were selected and were invited to campus. During their visits to campus, candidates will have a chance to meet faculty, administration and staff.

George Kueppers, a sophomore who was invited to meet the first candidate, said that the session was relaxed. Students were allowed to ask questions of the candidate and to get to know them.

“It was very effective in getting a good sense of who he was as a candidate and what he could bring to the college,” Kueppers said.

Craft reflected on the overall search and said that he is happy with how it is going.

“I could not be happier than I am with the quality and character of the final candidates,” he said.

Craft emphasized the importance of the search and how it will affect Concordia in the future.

“I am not going to be involved in a more important hire than this one,” Craft said.

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