As part of the search for Miami University’s new provost, each of the four candidates are participating in open forums to answer questions from the Miami community.
Liz Mullenix, the dean of Miami University’s College of Creative Arts and current interim provost, participated in the first open forum on Nov. 16.
Before the forum was opened for questions, Mullenix shared her work background. She started as a theater professor at Illinois State University before becoming a department chair and an associate dean. She then came to Miami in 2006 as a theater professor and has worked her way up since.
She said her past administrative work pushed her to pursue the role of provost.
“I’ve been an administrator for a long time, really my whole career,” Mullenix said. “I made a decision a long time ago that I would retire at Miami. I thought I would retire as a faculty member in the theater department … But I never thought I would have another leadership challenge, and so to be able to have another leadership challenge at the end of my career, it's exciting to me.”
Audience members then asked Mullenix specific questions, which have been paraphrased below with her responses. Miami asks for people to provide feedback on Mullenix for the provost search using this form. The form is open until Dec. 5.
Q: What skills would you bring to the role of provost?
Mullenix: “Theater people are collaborative by nature … Theater people also must have empathy … The skills I've learned through this job are not just these long relationships and experience as an administrator, but also the skills of a creative person in terms of being able to solve problems.”
Q: How will your arts background influence your work as provost?
Mullenix: “When you look at the president's vision for Miami … the pillars of that campaign are scholarship, entrepreneurship, clinical health and also data science and technology … But I would also add the arts and humanities to that … One of the things that I would be really excited about if I were to be the provost would be sort of creating a Marshall Plan for the humanities.”
Q: What concerns do you have about stepping into this role?
Mullenix: “We really confronted a faculty who feel more alienated from the upper administration or distrustful of the upper administration than they have arguably been in their history, and the evidence for that is that our faculty are attempting to unionize.”
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Q: What next steps will you take concerning drops in the numbers of international students while the number of represented countries increases?
Mullenix: “[It] is really exciting that we have so many countries represented, and internationalization is not just about students coming here from other countries. Internationalization is about a global curriculum, about seeing that in our curriculum, about seeing that represented in terms of faculty and staff.”
Q: How do you plan to support students academically?
Mullenix: “Student success is a really important part of what we do in academic affairs … Trying to build that portfolio and find that balance between the professional advisors and faculty who really feel very passionately about that as part of their mission as teachers and mentors, is critical.”
Q: Why you?
Mullenix: “Right now in terms of the challenges we face in Miami, having an internal candidate could be a good thing … I would consider it a great honor to be the provost.”