Search for new provost attracts dozens of applicants


Provost Brandsen (left) exits the 2016 commencement ceremony.

The national search to replace Provost Cheryl Brandsen is underway and should be completed in eight to ten weeks.

Brandsen announced her intent to retire by June 30, 2021 in an email to the Calvin community on Aug. 27, 2020. During her tenure as provost, she has overseen a core curriculum revision, the creation and revision of Vision 2030, the transition to a university structure and several successful educational accreditation reviews.

Prior to becoming provost, Brandsen worked at Calvin as a sociology and social work professor. She later served as the director of the social work program, chair of the sociology and social work department, and dean for the social sciences and contextual disciplines.

Following the announcement, a formal search to find a new provost began. President Michael Le Roy organized a search committee in mid-October of 2020. Co-chaired by chemistry professor Kumar Sinniah,13 members of the staff, administration and faculty serve on the committee. They drafted a survey that went out to Student Senate and various Calvin constituents to develop the requirements needed for the position.

According to committee member Andy George, director of Human Resources, the search committee sought to create an applicant pool by requesting nominations from within the Calvin community and posting the position to several job boards. Roughly 100 individuals were nominated, and the committee contacted them to inquire about their interest and qualifications. Several applied through the external job postings. As of Feb. 8, the committee has received 27 applications and expects to receive another ten.

In the next few weeks, the search team will narrow the list of applicants before identifying final candidates for rigorous interviews. According to the job description on LinkedIn, applicants must have served at least five years in an administrative role in higher education, hold a doctorate, a record of scholarship and experience as a full professor with tenure. Applicants must have a deep appreciation for the liberal arts and the skills necessary to shepherd Calvin through a changing world for higher education.

The provost is the chief academic officer of Calvin, second in leadership only to the president. The provost works with faculty to establish and lead educational practices. He or she is expected to affirm the creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith, as well as be a member in a congregation of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

George says that the next provost will have to achieve and advance the objectives specified in Vision 2030, implement the new schools in the university structure, provide leadership in the midst of financial change and further Calvin’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.