Provost Search Position Description

The Position:

Fairmont State University in Fairmont, West Virginia, seeks nominations and applications for the position of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The Provost provides leadership and vision for the Academic Affairs Division of the University in the areas of teaching, research, and service, with direct responsibility for the effective and successful operation of all units in Academic Affairs, including the six academic colleges (the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Science and Technology, the School of Business, the School of Education, Health and Human Performance, the School of Fine Arts and the School of Nursing), the Graduate Studies Program, the Honors Program, the University Libraries and the Academic Advising Program.

The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is the chief academic officer of the University, reporting to the President and representing the President during her/his absence from the University main campus. All aspects of the institution’s academic priorities are overseen by the Provost.  The Provost is a central figure in the leadership of the University, its primary champion of academic excellence, and the chief steward of academic rigor, responsible for all of the institution’s academic programs and their associated faculty, students, staff, and resources. Highly visible on campus and in the campus community, the Provost also serves as the chief academic budget officer, with oversight of educational, scholarly, research, service and academic fundraising priorities that touch every corner of the University.

FSU recognizes that the demands on higher education, technology, and the world’s needs are evolving.  The Provost is also expected to be entrepreneurial and visionary in establishing new external partnerships that will guide the development of new and integrated academic programs to meet these changing needs. 

Online education and use of technology within the learning experience has become the new normal.  The Provost will lead the continuous improvement, development and integration of various delivery methodologies that offer students flexibility in scheduling classes including face-to-face, online and hybrid.

Reporting to the President, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will continue to build Fairmont State University as an engaged public university that prepares students to graduate fully prepared to begin successful careers, enter graduate programs or transition into leadership roles. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will have an earned doctorate and will possess exemplary administrative, interpersonal and communication skills and a dedication to positively changing the lives of students through a proven track record of commitment to excellence. S/he will support and grow the University’s engagement with the Fairmont community, the surrounding counties and states, and will provide significant leadership in the identification and design of new degree programs (online or onsite), and expansion of research, internships and partnerships.

Our Institution:

Fairmont State University, with a 120-acre main campus in Fairmont, West Virginia, is part of the state’s growing high technology corridor. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and with a long history of academic excellence, FSU as a public institution is a place where teaching and learning matter and students are our first priority. Founded in 1865 as the state’s first private normal school in West Virginia, FSU celebrated its Sesquicentennial in 2015.

Over the past decade, the main campus has been expanded with new construction, including an Engineering Technology Building, student center, several residence halls, parking garage, improved library facility and significant ADA accessibility improvements.

We continue to develop and prepare the future educators of our state and our nation and have added many programs and majors that reflect the evolving and fluid entrepreneurial and workforce needs of our region and country.  Among our growing programs are our National Security and Intelligence and criminal justice programs; professional nursing program; master’s degree in architecture; our MBA program; and our aviation administration and management program.  A new initiative in the fall of 2018 will be a surveying major. Our strong and vibrant Honors Program attracts the best student minds from our state and region.

The Mission of Fairmont State University is to provide opportunities for individuals to achieve their professional and personal goals and discover roles for responsible citizenship that promote the common good.  We aspire to be nationally recognized as a model for accessible learner-centered institutions that promote student success by providing comprehensive education and excellent teaching, flexible learning environments, and superior services. Graduates will have the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind necessary for intellectual growth, full and participatory citizenship, employability, and entrepreneurship in a changing environment.

As an integral and key part of this mission and vision and honoring our commitment to shared governance, the Provost will, with the faculty’s input and assistance, implement the academic priorities of the University’s Strategic Plan, an ambitious, dynamic blueprint designed to continue our traditional successes while reshaping the University to firmly establish our institution as a destination school for the citizens and future employees of not only West Virginia, but also of our nation and of the world.

The next Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs for Fairmont State University will possess a collaborative spirit and strong management skills that support a commitment to shared governance and innovation.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Academic Planning:  The Provost has a leadership role in developing partnerships, locally and world-wide, to benefit the academic enterprise. S/he collaboratively develops and oversees the vision for the deans and others who have been delegated responsibility for planning and for development. This function also includes day-to-day operations such as planning academic space allocation, in cooperation with the Chief Financial Officer. The Provost office maintains current plans for academic programs, determines resource allocations, and motivates innovations and expansion of programs. The Provost will work closely with enrollment management to grow recruitment, and to improve retention and graduation rates of students.
  • Chief Personnel Officer for Academic Faculty: The Provost is responsible for the allocation of all faculty positions and oversees faculty hiring. The Provost develops, in collaboration with faculty, new faculty personnel policies as well as maintaining, applying and interpreting current policies, and oversees systems of quality assurance for hiring, promotion, and tenure. The Provost coordinates the annual faculty report with the President and Deans.  The Provost oversees the process by which faculty members and their departments or schools prepare for tenure and promotion reviews and makes the final recommendation to the President.  The Provost provides reports regularly to the Board of Governors on faculty issues and concerns. Supporting the institutional mission is the first priority of the Provost.
  • Teaching, Service and Research: The Provost ensures that FSU maintains its commitment to promoting excellence in teaching, service and research.
  • Libraries:  Provides oversight of library functions and facilities.
  • Online Programs:  The Provost will support and further FSU’s emerging and thriving online learning programs to improve access, reach and impact for the institution.
  • Interdisciplinary Studies:  The Provost will encourage more collaboration, programs and research across departments and schools, at all levels.
  • International Education:  The Provost prioritizes initiatives that allow more FSU students to experience global learning through study abroad and an increasingly internationalized curriculum and advocates for measures to increase our international student enrollment.
  • Continuing Education and Professional Development:  The Provost will support and expand FSU’s continuing education programs to provide quality and relevant education opportunities for returning veterans and other adult, non-traditional learners and to be responsive to regional, national and international needs.
  • Supporting the President: The Provost provides direct support to the President in the operation and direction of the University. The Provost will preside over meetings, attend events as the University’s representative, and at times act in place of the President as necessary. The Provost reports to the Board of Governors on Academic Affairs activities, including new initiatives, programs, faculty appointments and policy changes.
  • Student Success: The Provost partners with the Vice President for Student Services to ensure the University monitors and supports student success and retention through strategic, data-driven programs and decision-making.
  • Development: The Provost will cooperate with the President, Deans, and Foundation in securing philanthropic support for the University.
  • Accreditation: The Provost ensures compliance with all appropriate accrediting bodies.
  • Collaboration and Cooperation:  The Provost builds productive and cooperative relationships with constituencies within the University, including but not limited to the academic Deans, Chairs, and Directors; the President’s cabinet; the Faculty Senate; the Staff Council; the Student Government Association; the Foundation, Institutional Assessment and Research; and also with other institutions in the region, state, nation, and world. Specifically, the Provost plays a pivotal role in creating structures and incentives for various academic units—colleges, schools, departments, the Honors Program, and other entities—to collaborate on cross-institution initiatives.

Education, Experience and Qualifications

The next Provost will lead within a complex organization.  The Provost must exhibit leadership skills and a passion for the mission of the institution.

The Provost must have the highest commitment to academic and scholarly standards. S/he must exhibit the vigor and imagination necessary to promote those standards effectively, and must be able to recognize and promote academic excellence in all its forms and at all levels of the University. The Provost must identify, improve, and increase opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, research, scholarship, creative activities and teaching among faculty at all levels. The strongest candidates will have the relevant and deep budgetary and administrative experience necessary for and inherent to the responsibilities of the role.

Education:  Requires an earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree.


  • Holds full professor rank at an accredited institution and/or has an academic record suitable for appointment as a tenured full professor in an academic department at an institution comparable to Fairmont State University.
  • A minimum of five years of comprehensive experience in higher education administration including extensive budget management, and campus operations.
  • Demonstrated experience in forming external partnerships with communities, locally and world-wide, to benefit the academic enterprise.
  • Entrepreneurial and visionary in exploring new and innovative program opportunities.
  • Demonstrated support for faculty development, program assessment and accreditation.
  • Demonstrated history of and commitment to transparent leadership and shared governance.
  • Comprehensive online delivery and management experience.
  • Demonstrated history of and commitment to transparent leadership and shared governance.
  • Comprehensive experience with regional accreditation and organizations, such as the HLC.

Other Qualifications:

  • Impeccable personal and professional integrity.
  • A commitment to academic rigor.
  • A proven history of recruitment and entrepreneurship.
  • A strong commitment to student success and the integration of academic and student life for a comprehensive student experience.
  • Ability to think and act entrepreneurially to enhance and grow the academic experience.
  • Enthusiasm for the history and mission of the University, balanced with a commitment to innovation and improvement.
  • Commitment to enhancing the quality of student learning at the graduate, undergraduate, and professional levels.
  • Demonstrated abilities in academic administration, including leading through change with diverse groups from all segments of the University community.
  • Demonstrated ability to solve complex problems and to make difficult decisions that support the University’s mission and goals.
  • Demonstrated effective team management skills, communication skills, and the ability to develop and execute short/long-term plans.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of and the proven ability to fundraise.
  • Dedication to creating a diverse, open and inclusive environment and to promoting diversity in all aspects of University life.
  • An appreciation for the evolving role of technology in higher education and commitment to incorporating it into the classroom and online, in the Library and in faculty and student research.
  • Commitment to supporting and expanding graduate education.
  • Commitment to growing international student enrollment and travel abroad opportunities.
  • Excellent written, presentation and interpersonal skills and competencies in working with a variety of constituencies.

Application Process

We invite and encourage interested qualified applicants to apply via our online applicant portal.  There you will be directed to create an application and guided through the other requests for information and documents, including a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, unofficial transcripts, professional references and a Statement of Philosophy.  The position will be posted from November 21, 2017, through January 21, 2018.  We can accept only online submissions of applications.

Initial interviews will begin in early February 2018, with selection and offer by the end of March 2018.

We anticipate that the new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will begin her/his duties on July 1, 2018.

Those wishing to nominate a candidate for the position may send a letter of nomination directly to the chair of the search committee, Dr. Donald Trisel, Dean of Science and Technology via his email address, or to him at Science and Technology, Fairmont State University, 1201 Locust Avenue, Fairmont, WV 26554.

All applications and nominations will be handled with the strictest confidentiality.

For more information, please contact Cindy Curry, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, at or by phone at 304.367.4386.