James Tananan Kamnuedkhun
MATT HAMPTON | News Editor
Updated Oct. 8, 6:02 p.m. with comments from Dr. Abbott.
Dr. Marilyn Abbott, Lindenwood University’s provost since 2016, will retire at the end of the school year.
Currently, Lindenwood is conducting a search for a new provost, who will take Abbott’s spot as the university’s academic leader in July 2020. All professors and deans at Lindenwood, as well as academic staff such as in the library and writing center, ultimately report to the provost.
Dr. Deb Ayres, vice president for human resources, said the new provost will hopefully be chosen by the end of February.
Faculty, deans, and Academic Affairs staff participated in focus groups on Oct. 3 and took surveys for feedback which was used for a hiring profile for the next provost.
She said the profile will ask for a candidate with a strong background in academic leadership and a vision for the future of Lindenwood. The position will require a terminal degree, significant administrative experience, and demonstrated leadership.
The job opening was posted this month, and will close in December. Ayres said Lindenwood will develop a pool of candidates which will be compared to the hiring profile. A committee of faculty, staff, and administrators will review candidates, and President John Porter will also interview them.
After the applicants are narrowed down, they will go through more interviews before Porter selects one as the provost.
Abbott has worked at Lindenwood for a total of 22 years, and she said she plans to “relax” after retiring.
She said her main lesson from her time at Lindenwood is “Things have changed a lot, and are continuing to change in higher education, and we have to respond to that.”
Abbott has been at Lindenwood since 1997, when she was hired as director of environmental management. She later was a faculty member in the School of Sciences, and became its dean in 2000. Before coming to Lindenwood, she worked for Anheuser-Busch for 10 years.
In 2015, then-provost Jan Weitzel left Lindenwood for another job, and a national search selected Abbott as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Ayres said it is possible the next provost will also be chosen from within Lindenwood, but candidates from all over the world can apply.
“We’re looking for the right person, not the convenient person,” Ayres said.
Dr. Annie Alameda, chair of the faculty council, has worked with Abbott in a variety of capacities. She said the focus groups were informative and, “a few overall themes will emerge on the hiring profile; for example, leadership skills and collaboration with faculty, deans, executive administration and the President.”