Provost candidate holds forum in Corley Auditorium


Brad Stout | The Chart

Dr. Lisa M. Boyd Cobb, a former vice president for academic affairs at Dyersburg State Community College in Dyersburg, Tenn, answers faculty questions during an open forum Feb. 13 in Missori Southern’s Corley Auditorium. Cobb is one of the four final candidates for the vice president of academic affairs position at Southern.

Brad Stout, Editor-in-Chief

The Missouri Southern community was given another chance to meet one of the final candidates for the University’s vice president for academic affairs position when Dr. Lisa M. Boyd Cobb, a former vice president for academic affairs at Dyersburg State Community College in Dyersburg, Tenn., made herself available for questions during an open forum held Feb. 13 in Webster Hall’s Corley Auditorium.

Members of the Southern faculty and staff who were in attendance were encouraged to question and evaluate Cobb, who addressed their concerns and shared her vision for Missouri Southern’s future.

“I think that Missouri Southern is positioning itself to transition into comprehensive regional university,” said Cobb. “We have to move forward in that.”

Cobb was appointed Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Dyersburg in 2007, after serving as an associate professor and later professor of biology since 2002.

According to Michael Garoutte, faculty senate president and co-chair of the provost search committee, over 30 individuals applied for the position. Each of these applicants were then researched by the commitee, which eventually narrowed its top picks down to a list of eight candidates.

“We actually, as a committee, telephone interviewed all eight of those candidates,” said Garoutte. “After we interviewed all eight of them, we took notes, and then we compared notes and we narrowed that down to a list of five that we were going to proceed with.”

Before the committee had a chance to proceed with those five candidates, however, one applicant withdrew after landing a job elsewhere. This left the committee with the four candidates that are currently being considered.

Other candidates for the position include Dr. Howard Smith, dean of the College of Education at Pittsburg State University; Dr. Paula Phillips Carson, the assistant vice president for institutional planning and effectiveness at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette; and Dr. Joseph D. Bessie, a current professor of philosophy and former vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Smith also made himself available to the Southern campus and participated in an open forum Feb. 11.

“When I saw the position for provost [at Southern], I wanted to apply … knowing that this has a great foundation as a great institution,” said Smith. “I’ve been in higher education for some time and I’ve tried to get a nice, broad background in order to serve later in a position such as this.”

Bessie is scheduled to visit the Southern campus Feb. 27. Carson, whose originally scheduled visit was cancelled due to weather, will visit March 13.