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Northern Kentucky University student "Norsing Up"

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs


Northern Kentucky University (NKU) seeks an entrepreneurial and strategic leader to serve as its next Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (provost). This individual will join NKU at a critical moment, against the backdrop of a global pandemic, with unprecedented challenges facing public higher education. Courageous leadership is more important than ever. NKU’s next provost will work alongside a dynamic and visionary president and a highly talented and committed leadership team. The provost will be unafraid to challenge academic conventions, but only following deep consultation and with an authentic investment in collegial governance, to help NKU fulfill its vision of a student-ready and regionally engaged institution.

NKU is a flourishing public university located in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati metropolitan area, just minutes away from downtown Cincinnati. Nationally recognized as a steward of place, NKU is a model for public engagement through the alignment of its teaching, learning, research, scholarship, and economic and civic mission with the needs of the region. The university delivers innovative student-centered education and engages in impactful scholarly and creative endeavors, all of which empower learners to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives, while contributing to the economic, civic, and social vitality of the region. A young institution, NKU can reflect on its five decades with pride, and more recently at the founding of two new colleges; the construction of several new buildings on campus, including the state-of-the-art Health Innovation Center; welcoming the inaugural UK College of Medicine cohort to the Northern Kentucky campus, and a successful transition to Division I athletics.

Reporting to President Ashish Vaidya and collaborating closely with other university leaders, the provost will serve as the chief academic officer with responsibility for aligning resource allocation with strategy. The provost will have direct responsibility for seven colleges – the College of Arts and Sciences, the Haile/US Bank College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Health & Human Services, the College of Informatics, the Honors College, and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law – as well as the Institute for Health Innovation; W. Frank Steely Library; Undergraduate Academic Affairs; Enrollment and Degree Management; Graduate Education; the Center for Global Education and International Affairs; and a number of other programs and initiatives.

The ideal candidate will possess a distinguished record of teaching and scholarship commensurate with full professor status at NKU; a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; a proven history of forging and leveraging strategic community partnerships; experience in senior academic administration with a record of supporting student success, and managing complex change initiatives in a collaborative and consensus-building environment. NKU has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this search. All applications, inquiries, and nominations, which will remain confidential, should be directed to the search firm as indicated below.

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Search Committee

Bonita Brown (co-chair)
Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Dale Stephenson (co-chair)
Dean, College of Health and Human Services

Traian Marius Truta
Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Computer Science

Brooke Buckley
Chair, Department of Mathmatics and Statistics

Teri Vonhandorf
Provost, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Gateway College

Rita Jones
Executive Assistant to the Provost

Tim Ferguson
Chief Information Officer

John Farrar
Faculty Senate Chair/Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Laura Sullivan
Faculty Senate/Librarian, Associate Professor-Steely Library

Jose Saavedra Torres
Faculty/Department of Marketing, Sports Business & Const Mgt

Lauren Goodwin
SGA President

Frank Robinson
Director, Norse Advising

Eric Brose
Director, Upward Bound

Ursula Doyle
Faculty, Chase College of Law


The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President For Academic Affairs

The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs provides oversight for NKU’s academic programs and support services. The provost’s office supports the success of faculty and students engaged in NKU’s central mission: sound academic preparation of its students for a lifetime of learning, professional achievement, personal satisfaction, and public engagement. The provost has 16 direct reports with an overall staff size of 583 and an annual budget of $123.7M, representing 55 percent of the total university budget. The office provides oversight for 78 bachelor’s degrees, 23 master’s degrees, and three doctorates. Reporting to the provost are the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Haile/US Bank College of Business, the College of Education, the College of Informatics, the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, the College of Health and Human Services, and the Honors College; as well as the following units: the Institute for Health Innovation; the W. Frank Steely Library; the Office of Enrollment and Degree Management; Graduate Education; Undergraduate Academic Affairs; and the Center for Global Engagement and International Affairs.

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The Role: Opportunities and Challenges

NKU seeks as its next provost a collaborative and strategic academic leader who will effectively manage an extensive administrative enterprise, champion student success, inspire and lead the faculty, align with other university leaders, and represent NKU, its academic programs, and educational mission to external and internal constituencies. The provost will run the university’s academic enterprise. They must have the capacity to help shape and implement the president’s vision and the strategic framework’s pillars, be an informed and influential partner for other senior administrators, and a judicious delegator of appropriate tasks.

Specific opportunities and challenges include:


Qualifications and Experience


The successful candidate will demonstrate many of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • An earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree and a record of distinguished scholarship and teaching that qualify for appointment as a full professor with tenure in one of NKU’s colleges;
  • Progressive academic leadership experience in higher education with demonstrated experience leading change. A leader who fosters innovation and harnesses the passion of the university community to challenge convention and position NKU as a destination school;
  • A demonstrated commitment to inclusive excellence, including individual action, investment and institutional leadership to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Strong management, planning and financial skills; a record of successful leadership within a complex organization; and an astute understanding of university finances and budget models;
  • Outstanding listening and communication skills, equally effective at learning from others, translating thoughts for broader consideration, managing by influence, and explaining their own views – all while maintaining an open mind to the views of others. A willingness to speak with a clear and trusted voice in leadership deliberations;
  • Strong interpersonal and diplomatic skills; someone firm but fair. Energy, agility, and flexibility to work side-by-side with an ambitious and idea-generating president. The ability to listen to faculty in a way that makes them feel heard and supported and in turn garners their support and respect. A can-do attitude, and a tireless devotion to the continued growth and success of the university;
  • Capacity to make and defend difficult decisions, while being mindful of the need for fairness, consistency, and the potential impact of each decision on individuals and the broader community;
  • A clear understanding of proven and leading-edge methods and instructional technologies to support faculty, staff, and students in a large public university. A forward-thinking academic leader with a passion for staying abreast of technology and educational delivery trends in higher education. A commitment to advancing research and scholarship through technology;
  • The ability to balance delegation and oversight; in particular with respect to multiple programs and institutional accreditation issues;
  • An interdisciplinary thinker adept at working creatively across units, and committed to harnessing and facilitating the potential of collaborative activities across institutional and disciplinary boundaries;
  • A collaborator and convener with the capacity to build consensus and to motivate and inspire stakeholders with differing priorities to ensure its realization;
  • Entrepreneurial spirit and drive; and an eye for creative opportunities tied to a commitment to accountability and results.
Campus building

Search Timeline*

  • November 5-7: Semi-finalist Interviews
  • Week of November 16th: Finalist Interviews with Campus Constituents 
  • End of November: Reference Checking 
  • December: Final Selection, offer and announcement 
*This timeline is a general guideline and subject to change.
NKU's Griffin Hall at dusk with colorful lights.

Open Forums for Faculty, Staff and Students will be held on September 25 and September 30. 


Leadership Profile

Search Updates

Open Forums

  • Wednesday, September 25, 2019
    • 11:00am-12:00pm -  Staff Open Forum, Williman Room
    • 3:00-4:00pm - Faculty Open Forum, Williman Room
    • 4:00-5:00pm - Student Open Forum, Williman Room
  • Monday, September 30, 2019
    • 10:00-11:00am - Faculty Open Forum, Williman Room
    • 1:00-2:00pm - Student Open Forum, Williman Room
    • 3:00-4:00pm - Staff Open Forum, Williman Room

Outreach Meetings

 On behalf of the Provost Search Committee, the search firm WittKieffer has met with the following members of the community to gather input to inform the Leadership Profile. Additional outreach will take place over the summer and early fall. In the early Fall, open forums will be scheduled to gather input from faculty, staff and students. 

  • President
  • President's Cabinet
  • University Coordinating Committee
  • Interim Provost
  • Deans
  • Center Directors
  • Provost's Office Staff

Search Committee Meetings

  • August 14, 2019: Search Committee Meeting
  • July 12, 2019: Search Committee Meeting

Contact Us

NKU has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm. Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Nominations, inquiries, and applications, including a letter of interest and curriculum vitae, should be sent in confidence to: 

Ponneh Varho,
Partner Marc St.Hilaire, Senior Associate    

Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.