Western Illinois University's new interim provost said plans for academic realignment are on hold for now. Billy Clow, the former dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, took over as interim provost at the start of the new year.
Clow said he’s still getting adjusted to the position and is in the process of reviewing feedback collected last fall from meetings with the different colleges about academic realignment.
He told members of the Faculty Senate during their first meeting of the spring semester that he wants to delay making any decisions about the reorganization until after he hears from the Academic Program Elimination Review (APER) committee.
The APER committee, made up of university faculty members, is in the process of reviewing 18 academic programs that Western is considering eliminating.
Clow said realignment cannot be seperate from program review and it makes sense to wait in order to look at everything together.
“Knowing that there’s an APER report coming and everything else, to reorganize and then get an APER report and then reorganize the reorganization seems kind of counter-productive,” Clow said. “So, at this point, I think we are best to wait and see where things go with this report that comes in. That’s my feeling on it anyway. I just don’t see why we would do it twice.”
Clow said the APER report is due February 18. He did not say when decisions about academic realignment will be made. But the administration has said it will make an announcement about cost cutting measures on March 1.
Clow was named interim provost when Dr. Kathy Neumann announced during the fall she would be stepping down to work on special projects after serving more than three years in the interim position.
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A university spokeswoman said Neumann’s temporary assignment as associate vice president for academic affairs will have her focusing on special projects in institutional research and planning, enterprise resource planning, and other areas.
Clow said he expects to serve as interim provost for only six months. He told Tri States Public Radio his focus is on meeting with people and figuring out what he can do to help.
“I just want to have conversations with people and find out what is really at the heart of everyones’ needs right now and find out what we need to do right now to heal and make things better,” he said.
A search for a permanent provost is underway and Clow said a new hire is expected to start July 1.