First provost candidate visits Northern
December 3, 2013
Ronald Hy, the first candidate for the recently vacated provost position at Montana State University-Northern to visit the campus, was interviewed by the university faculty and community members Monday at Hensler Auditorium.
Hy said in his current position, he and his team put together policies, look at the university finances and "everything a provost office does."
"An important role of provost is looking at financial data," Hy said.
Hy is the provost for academic excellence at the University of North Texas.
He also said he thinks that administration should work with the faculty to find out how to raise "student-credit hour production."
"I am interested in finding how to get more students here," Hy said.
He added that this is particularly important to Northern because it does not gain much funding through endowments and grants, but through performance-based funding based on student-credit hour production.
With this information, he went on to explain some of his ideas for attracting and retaining students.
He said he supports making all classes eight-week courses and pushing for online education.
"Why do we have a growth in online education?" Hy said. "Convenience."
He gave examples of how "hybrid classes," which use both technological and traditional methods, have helped students at his university. He said he believes that education cannot stay as it is in traditional lectures, but must move on to implement technologies that are quickly becoming a part of everyday life.
The technological shift, for Hy, does not exclude the library and how students get their resources.
"The role of the library is essential, but transitional," Hy said.
He said he would like to see the digitalization of libraries: more computers, more online databases and more workshops to teach students how to use these resources.
He also said he wanted to put a focus on the majors that are proven to get students more and better jobs.
"I think students came to college to get a job, especially with first-generation students," Hy said. "I want to start developing programs to help people get a job."
He said he would like to take a look at majors which attract students and find out which do not. A listener in the audience asked him how he could bring in more students from the reservations and Canada.
"You have to develop majors that get people jobs," and then they will come, Hy said. He added that curriculums should align with what the employer wants.
When an audience member asked Hy what his passions were, he said he had two. The first was "making sure when a student leaves, they have the wherewithal to succeed."
His second passion was to make sure students have adequate English-speaking and writing skills.
"Employers say students can't write and can't reason," Hy said.
When asked about what the nature of the relationship between administration and faculty should be, Hy said, "I think that humor plays an important part in communication."
"It's all about building relationships and trust," Hy said. "Almost all decisions involve trade-offs. ... I think listening is one of the skills I have. It's essential. Listen not only with your ears, but with your eyes."
Trygve "Spike" Magelssen asked Hy what he thought about ultimatums.
"I think ultimatums should never be used unless absolutely necessary," Hy said. "You have to use them very cautiously, and there should always be a time limit."
Magelssen then gave Hy a hypothetical situation.
Magelssen proposed a situation in which Hy, in a four-wheel drive truck, in which he had a shovel and a rope, passes by a man whose vehicle is stuck in the mud.
"What would you do?" Magelssen asked.
Hy responded, "I would give him a ride and get him to safety."
When an audience member asked Hy if he had any questions for them, he asked, "Are you ready to make changes to increase student-credit production?"
The remaining schedule for interviews to replace Rosalyn Templeton as MSU-Northern provost are:
• William Baker - Thursday
• Larry Strizich - Friday
• John Shoup - Dec. 9
• William Rugg - Dec. 11
• Michael Oudshoorn - Dec. 16
Each interview is 2 p.m. at Hensler Auditorium.