President Donald P. Christian sent the following message to the campus community on Monday, Aug.17.
Dear SUNY New Paltz Faculty, Staff, and Students:
I write to announce that Interim Provost Barbara G. Lyman has accepted my request to further extend her service in this critical leadership role for a third year, through June 2022.
In mid-March, I announced that Dr. Lyman had agreed to remain in the Provost role for the 2020-21 year. My intention was to re-start the search this month (August 2020) with the goal of bringing a new Provost on board during summer 2021.
I approached Dr. Lyman about her possible interest in extending her service based on my positive assessment of her work as the chief academic officer, including her advancement of important initiatives such as providing overall direction for our Middle States accreditation process and guiding the management of our responses to many dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. And she has done so with grace, wisdom and skill informed by her considerable experience and her strong respect and advocacy for faculty. The direct and indirect feedback I have received along the lines of “can’t we just keep Barbara as Provost?” has influenced my thinking. And Dr. Lyman has shared with me how much the strength of the faculty, the high-quality profile of the institution and its successful student metrics, and the sense of community at SUNY New Paltz, resonate so closely with her values as she continues her career.
I announced Barbara’s initial willingness to stay on for a second year (2020-21) the week before the pandemic gained momentum; the pandemic continues to drive our decisions and actions. At this uncertain time, I am deeply concerned about attracting the best applicants to this critical leadership position, and being able to engage the campus community in evaluating candidates in the fulsome search process that such a key position demands. That includes balancing the demands placed on faculty search committee members during a disrupted fall semester, and on all employees during an uncertain spring semester when finalist candidates ideally would visit campus. Accordingly, I would hope to re-start this search in summer 2021, with the aim of having a new Provost on board in summer 2022. I believe having Barbara provide consistency in this role for a three-year period will serve the College and its faculty well.
Academic Search, the search consultant, will support the continuation of this search in the future, at no additional cost to the institution. I will work with faculty governance to reconvene the search committee this coming spring, and as needed reconstitute the academic and professional membership of the search committee, with opportunity for current members to continue serving if they wish, as well as new members.
I hope you will join me in welcoming and supporting Provost Lyman in her continuation of this key leadership role on our campus.
Donald P. Christian