Strickland takes interim provost post
Though he’ll only hold the position for six months, Interim Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Jerald Strickland has lofty goals for the University: to reform financial aid and increase scholarships for students.
UH President Renu Khator appointed Strickland to serve following Ted Estess’ resignation, which was effective July 21. Strickland will hold the position until January, when Khator hopes to have it filled.
As interim provost, Strickland hopes to assist UH in its goal to reach flagship status and stand alongside such universities as Texas A’M University and the University of Texas.
"Part of that is better defining the direction that the whole academy needs to take into academic affairs in becoming a flagship university," Strickland said. "How you define that in terms of how the faculty can understand and how the students can understand will help us so we can all march to the same drum and go in the same direction. There is no question we want to do this."
Strickland is already addressing issues such as financial aid and admissions.
"We want to focus on student success. That is a broad range, and we need to define that more carefully, too. We don’t want to disrupt things that are already working," Strickland said.
Khator feels Strickland is a great choice to help the University reach these goals.
"He has been responsible for leading the University’s Reaffirmation of Accreditation process for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools," Khator said. "And giving him important insight into curriculum development at the University is an important responsibility of the provost."
During his time at the University, Strickland has served as the associate dean of the College of Optometry, dean of the College of Optometry, assistant vice chancellor for International Studies and Programs and as interim provost in 2003. In addition to his provost duties Strickland will continue to hold his title as assistant vice chancellor for International Studies and Programs.
"I’ve always had a strong interest in international programs," Strickland said. "It took us two years to find a permanent interim provost, and at that time I went back to my passion with my position at International Programs."
His focus on international students and the international affairs for students is something he will return to after he leaves the interim provost position and returns full time to his previous position as the assistant vice chancellor for International Studies and Programs.
Khator feels Strickland’s line of experience at UH will strengthen his ability to take the new position in the fall.
"He will provide academic leadership and apply his considerable experience to the overall benefit of our University," Khator said.
During his six months as interim provost, Strickland wants to ensure students are aware of the problems various students have had with PeopleSoft 8.9, financial aid, scholarships and admissions.
"These things shouldn’t go wrong. We want to get it right, and it ought to be like riding a bicycle; once you learn, you do it and we will get it right."
Provost Search Committee Chairman David Francis has led the national search to fill the provost position since May. Nominations or suggestions for the search committee should be sent to Francis at [email protected].