Candidate for academic affairs position visits campus


Howard Smith, dean of the College of Education at Pittsburg State University, answers faculty and staff questions during a meet and greet Feb.11 in Missouri Southern’s Corley Auditorium. Smith was named one of the four final candidates in consideration for the vice president of academic affairs position at Southern.

Brad Stout/ Editor-in-Chief

Howard Smith, dean of the College of Education at Pittsburg State University, visited the Missouri Southern campus Feb. 11 following the Feb. 4 announcement that he had been chosen as one of four final candidates in the University’s ongoing search for a new provost/vice president of academic affairs.

During his visit, a formal meet and greet and question and answer session was held in Webster Hall’s Corley Auditorium, where Smith introduced himself to various faculty and staff members and explained what motivated him to apply for the position.

“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.”

Despite applying for the job at Southern, Smith is still a member of the PSU community, where he has worked for the past 19 years. During his time there, he has served as a professor of leadership studies, the interim chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, chair of Special Services & Leadership Studies, executive director of the PSU-Kansas City Metro Outreach Center, and assistant to the president and legislative liaison.

“I think [Smith] shows his passion for education and that’s nice to hear,” said Pat Lipira, Southern’s current vice president for academic affairs, who will retire from the position in May.

Other candidates for the position include Dr. Lisa M. Boyd Cobb, a former vice president for academic affairs at Dyersburg State Community College in Dyersburg, Tenn., 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.

According to Michael Garoutte, faculty senate president and co-chair of the provost search committee, over 30 individuals applied for the position. After researching each applicant, the committee 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. After that time, one of them withdrew, so that left us with the four we’re interviewing.”

Cobb will be visiting Southern today at 3:15 p.m., while the other two candidates will visit Feb. 18 and Feb. 27.