Provost candidate discusses strategy with faculty

Establishing trust and respect among faculty and administration is crucial in creating a time table of priorities. That is one of Laura Lindsay’s goals for USF.

Lindsay, one of the top four candidates for the USF provost position, visited campus again Tuesday to talk about what she deemed a necessity: a strong emphasis on building relationships.

“Talk to each other,” Lindsay said. “Some may have to give up something to gain something,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay spent part of her second day on campus before a forum of selected faculty members, discussing how strategies she helped initiate at Louisiana State University can be applied to USF.

“We designed what is now a six-point strategy to make LSU become more visible on a national level,” Lindsay said, contrasting LSU’s quest to become a nationally recognized research institute to that of USF’s.

Lindsay, who served one year as interim provost at LSU, is now a professor of mass communications and executive assistant to the chancellor there. While at LSU, Lindsay said she helped establish a technology fee that raised $10 million to help keep technology in the classrooms. She said some possibilities in USF’s quest for dollars would involve similar initiatives.

“(USF’s strategic plan) has got a lot of good things,” Lindsay said. “But the big issue for me is, where is the money?”

Lindsay said some of the planning and regrouping may involve channeling money into new faculty. USF needs to be interested in getting principle players, she added.

“I think (USF is) doing pretty well in bringing research dollars to the university,” Lindsay said.

However, Lindsay also said that USF would need to be more strategic in determining who goes after the money and how.

“If you want to say that you are a nationally ranked research institution, you need to be able to demonstrate that,” Lindsay said.

Lindsay said that USF might want to try to look at other top universities and model itself after top programs.

Another topic of discussion was the accreditation board, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Lindsay will assume the role of president of the SACS board of directors next year.

Not all faculty members were impressed by this, however. Emanuel Donchin, chair of the psychology department, told Lindsay he saw her role with SACS as a negative, citing the accreditation board’s policy of gathering credentials from faculty an unnecessary procedure.

“What matters is not the transcript (USF) got 40 years ago, but what we produced yesterday,” Donchin said. “Nothing that I learned 40 years ago is worth knowing. It’s the fact that I’m creating knowledge that makes the difference.”

Lindsay said that SACS assures quality and institutional integrity, and that although prior to 1984 it may have been weak, over the years it has become stronger.

Several other questions were left unanswered by Lindsay, who said she would not want to give answers without properly researching the issues specific to USF.