Provost candidates to visit CMU

Five coming to campus for open forums with faculty, staff and students

| Author: Aaron Mills

Five finalists in the search to serve as Central Michigan University's next executive vice president and provost will visit campus over the next two weeks.

As the university's chief academic officer, the new provost will work with President Bob Davies to set CMU's academic priorities and to allocate resources to achieve those priorities. The provost search committee, chaired by Interim Dean Betty Kirby and comprised of faculty, staff and student members, identified five candidates as finalists.

Faculty, staff and students will have the opportunity to hear from each candidate during open forums on February 25, February 28 and March 1-3. Individuals may participate in person or via livestream.

Dates and details for the candidates' visits:

Friday, Feb. 25: Richard Rothaus

Richard Rothaus joined Central Michigan University in 2018 as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and currently serves as interim provost. Prior to joining CMU, Rothaus spent three years as vice chancellor of academic and student affairs at North Dakota University System, where he previously held the role of director of academic programs.

Rothaus also worked as a professor and assistant vice president for research at St. Cloud State University, and has held various positions within the field of archaeology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and classics from Florida State University, a master’s degree in classics from Vanderbilt, and a doctorate in history from The Ohio State University.

Rothaus’ open forum takes place from 3-3:50 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Monday, Feb. 28: Abby Parrill-Baker

Abby Parrill-Baker currently serves as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Memphis. Prior to this leadership role, Parrill-Baker served the university as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as chair of the Department of Chemistry. Prior to her appointment to the faculty at the University of Memphis, she was the Lumsden-Valrance Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at Michigan State University.

Parrill-Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Central Michigan University and earned both a master’s and doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Arizona.

Parrill-Baker’s open forum takes place from 2-2:50 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Tuesday, March 1: Amy Thompson

Amy Thompson currently serves as senior vice provost of academic affairs and acting dean of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Toledo. Prior to taking on the senior vice provost role in 2020, Thompson spent two years as vice provost of faculty affairs and 10 years as a professor of public health. Thompson also has held faculty positions at Kent State University, Mississippi State University and the University of Findlay.

Thompson graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in community health and health promotion, and earned a master’s degree in public health and doctorate in health education from the University of Toledo.

Thompson’s open forum takes place from 1-1:50 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Wednesday, March 2:  Parwinder Grewal

Parwinder Grewal spent the past six years at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley — first as founding dean of the College of Sciences, then as executive vice president for research, graduate studies and new program development & dean of the graduate college, and currently as special assistant to the president. Prior to his time at UTRGV, Grewal was the department chair and professor of entomology and plant pathology at the University of Tennessee. He also held various faculty positions at The Ohio State University.

Grewal earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in plant pathology from Punjab Agricultural University in India, and holds a doctorate in zoology from Imperial College in London.

Grewal’s open forum takes place from 3-3:50 p.m. Wednesday, March 2 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Thursday, March 3:  Nancy Mathews

Nancy Mathews currently serves as dean of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and professor of wildlife and fisheries biology at the University of Vermont, positions she has held for the last eight years. Prior to these roles, Mathews served as professor of wildlife ecology and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 19 years.

Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Penn State University, and both a master’s degree and doctoral degree in forest biology from the State University of New York.

Mathews’ open forum takes place from 1-1:50 p.m. Thursday, March 3 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

Faculty, staff and students are invited to attend all open forums as their schedules allow. There is no requirement to stay for the entire time, and participants may come and go as needed.

Individuals unable to attend in person may view the livestream and submit questions using the chat function on the stream or by emailing in advance. Job-related feedback can be submitted by completing a candidate evaluation form at the open forum or by emailing comments to 

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