Getting to know the candidates

By Will Wright

[email protected]

Provost candidates Tim Tracy and David Blackwell spoke to the Kernel for short Q&A sessions.

Tracy, former interim provost and dean of the College of Pharmacy, and Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College of Business and Economics, will both speak at public forums on Thursday and Friday.

Q : Why did you decide to apply for the provost position?

A: As you know, I had served as interim provost before and had the opportunity to learn about that office. I found the interim provost position to be professionally fulfilling. So when the opportunity presented itself again, it gave me the opportunity to serve the university in a new and exciting way. President Capilouto has some very exciting initiatives going forward and I would be honored to be part of his team.

Q: Would your time as dean help you as a provost, and how so?

A: Absolutely. I’ve served as a faculty member, as a department head, as a dean and as an interim provost. All those positions helped me understand the university. I can draw upon all those experiences for understanding how departments work, how colleges work and how the university functions. That kind of knowledge can help the university achieve our goals and carry out our mission.

Q: Are there any missions or goals that you are particularly excited for or that prompted you to apply for provost?

A: I’m really excited by the student success initiative. The Guide for Student Success from the Council of Undergraduate Deans is a very exciting document and provides a wonderful template for increasing student success. Advancing the research enterprise on campus is also something I take a lot of interest in. Making a more diverse and inclusive campus is something I would be excited to be part of. Over the past five years the College of Pharmacy has more than doubled the percentage of students of ethnicity within the college and tripled the number of non-resident students, meaning those who are residents outside of Kentucky. In addition, half of our leadership team in the college is women.

Q: Why did you decide to apply for the provost position?

A: Once President Capilouto decided to do an internal search I started getting a number of inquiries from my colleagues around campus. I thought about it a long time and thought it would be a good opportunity to help the university and help President Capilouto. I decided that I would put my name in the hat.

Q: How would your experience as a dean help you as a provost?

A: As Dean of the Gatton College I oversee all four academic programs and I oversee all of our department chairs. In a way, being a dean is similar to being a provost, it’s just a broader responsibility. A lot of provosts around the country are former deans.

Q: Are there any ongoing issues on campus that prompted you to run?

A: A couple of the major priorities for the provost role are to: One, move forward the strategic plan and, two, to complete the implementation of a new financial model for the university. As a business dean, and in particular as a professor of corporate finance, I have experience with these models. And as a former consultant in finance I am very familiar with how these financial models work. My training and experience in corporate finance allows my to understand how to accomplish those goals. I am very familiar with complex financial models like the one the university is considering.