This story was originally published in the Feb. 15 issue of Fourth Estate.
Mason officials are seeking to fill two administrative positions: vice provost for digital innovation and learning and assistant vice president of University Life.
The four candidates for assistant vice president of University Life are: Dr. T. Tylor Behrens, Dr. Kahan Sablo, Farah Muscadin, Esq. and Tim Miller. All four candidates have past experience with student affairs at other universities. The four have already made public presentations as part of the process of running for this position.
The candidate elected for the position will replace the current assistant vice president of University Life, Jana Hurley.
Barbara Meehan, Ph.D., who is the executive director for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), is in charge of the search process for the new assistant vice president of University Life.
Whomever is chosen will report directly to Rose Pascarell, vice president of University Life, and will provide “strategic leadership and support for the ongoing development and effective management of units” located within the Office of University Life. These units include Housing and Residence Life, Living Learning Community (LLC) Development, Orientation, Family Programs and Services, University Career Services and Off-Campus Student Programs and Services, among many others.
Meehan said that currently, there is no set deadline by which a new candidate will be chosen.
“Ms. Hurley is working with Vice President Pascarell to determine a timeline for her transition. She [Hurley] remains committed to supporting University Life during the current search process,” Meehan said.
Hurley said she is leaving Mason and returning to Michigan, where she is from originally, because of a professional opportunity her husband accepted.
With Hurley leaving, Meehan said that they are looking for a candidate who can fill her shoes.
“The position calls for a leader who can manage a large portfolio and we are hopeful we will find someone who can fit the bill. Our goal is to continue to meet growing student needs and create a vibrant campus environment ripe for learning and personal growth and development,” Meehan said.
Another open administrative position is the vice provost of digital innovation and learning. The job description for this position states that Mason’s Office of Distance Learning within the Provost’s Office is seeking “a creative and forward-thinking Vice Provost for Digital Innovation and Learning to lead the university’s next-generation strategic initiatives that support online and blended learning.”
For the position of vice provost for digital innovation and learning, there are also two remaining candidates. The first is Menachem Jona, Ph.D., who is currently the research professor and director of the Office of Science, Technology and Math Partnerships for Northwestern University. The other candidate is Jeffrey McClurken, Ph.D., who is currently the professor and special assistant to the Provost for Teaching, Technology and Innovation at the University of Mary Washington.
This position was approved by Mason’s Board of Visitors (BOV) last April and a search committee was created soon after, co-chaired by Jannette Muir, associate provost for Undergraduate Education, and vice president of Information Technology, Marilyn Smith.
According to Muir, the search for a candidate was started last year and the university made an offer to someone who decided to accept a position at another university.
For this round, Muir said there were originally 16 candidates for the position, five of whom Mason interviewed. Out of those five, Jona and McClurken remained and came to campus this past January.
Muir said that the entire process is extremely confidential “due to the fact that other institutions don’t often know [these candidates] are looking [for new positions].”
This position was created to “lead Mason’s institutional transformation toward a digitally savvy, comprehensive global research university at the forefront of educational innovation. As this vision is implemented, Mason will grow online enrollment, improve academic quality, create access, and meet market demands,” according to the job description published by the university.
The vice provost for digital innovation and learning will report directly to Provost and Executive Vice President David Wu.
On Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, each candidate presented their answers to the prompt “From concepts to reality: What could Digital Innovation look like at Mason across all forms of learning?”
There were also two public presentations by the candidates for assistant vice president of University Life last week, on Feb. 10 and Feb. 12, that students and other members of the Mason community were encouraged to attend. Each candidate’s presentation lasted about an hour, with 15 minutes at the end for questions.
According to Muir, administration members are hoping to have the position filled by July 1.
“I think that the provost would like to see this filled ASAP, but anyone who is a top candidate is going to have other jobs at another university that they would need to finish first,” Muir said.
Correction: In the original version of this article, Fourth Estate erroneously reported that there were two remaining candidates to fill the position of assistant vice president of University Life. All four candidates for the position have made their presentations and any decisions regarding their statuses have not yet been made. Fourth Estate would like to stress that the incorrect information in last week’s article should not be attributed to the chair of the search committee, Barbara Meehan, Ph.D. and was instead a misunderstanding of communication on our behalf.