At a luncheon with several distinguished USF professors Monday, USF provost candidate Laura Lindsay outlined her plan to help the university overcome a tight budget to accomplish academic goals.
“The difficult job of the provost at any school is that they have to be able to say ‘no’ and prioritize,” said Lindsay, who served one year as interim provost at Louisiana State University and is now a professor of mass communications and executive assistant to the chancellor there. “If you look at the typical time a person serves as provost, it is rarely more than three or four years. This is because the decisions of the provost are going to make some faculty members happy, and, unfortunately, some people at the university will be upset.”
Lindsay said as provost she would attempt to improve USF’s financial situation through a four-step program that would both bring in new funds and reevaluate the dispersal of existing funds. According to Lindsay, as provost she would examine the allocation of money throughout the university and determine if any of it could be better invested in sectors of campus that generate more revenue. Along the same lines, she said more grant money should be given back to faculty members, in particular “proven grant-getters,” in hopes of seeing greater return sin the form of more grants.
Later in the day, Lindsay met with the Minority Faculty and Staff Association in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center on Monday. There she stressed the role she played in making the faculty of LSU’s School of Mass Communications more diverse. Lindsay told a panel of three professors at the meeting that she could use her experience as an administrator at a school of similar size to try to diversify the staffs at some of its schools.
Lindsay said she was also instrumental in raising the admissions standards at LSU during the late ’80s and into the ’90s. What she found in the process was that a higher GPA requirement for admission meant a temporary drop in enrollment numbers the following year. However, the students who were accepted were more likely to come back to school and complete their degrees. Eventually, she said, enrollment climbed back up to its original position before the new requirements were implemented.
After the meeting, Lindsay said in an interview that if she were provost, raising the standards of admissions at USF would be something she would consider to help ensure better retention and graduation rates.
Lindsay, a native of Illinois, grew up in Seattle after her father took a job with Boeing. Her claim to fame: The president of her high school class is Bill Gates’ lawyer. And because some Microsoft executives bought up the Mariners in the early ’90s, she gets to sit in the owner’s box when she’s in town.
Lindsay earned her bachelor’s in English, her master’s in radio and television and her doctorate in organizational communication.