Few students know what a Provost is. Any definition given by a faculty member translates as academic jargon that students recognize is important, but that is about it. In student-friendly terms, the Provost oversees all department chairs and is responsible for scholarship programs and student and academic sections at the university.
For example, the Provost makes sure your scholarship covers those classes for which he or she also approved the academic content. His job includes being intimately involved in overseeing the academia of the university, making his position significant to all students, whether they know it or not.
It is quite a significant position and one that Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen has held for the past 13 years. Last October, VanRheenen announced his planned retirement at the end of the 2008-09 school year.
Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of the College of Business Administration, worked in proximity to VanRheenen.
“He transformed ACU academically,” Lytle said. “He understood what it meant to be a quality academic institution.”
Lytle said this is exemplified through his encouragement of the Study Abroad program and undergraduate research, his development in the Honors Program, his emphasis on establishing a level of diversity on both the faculty and student body and his constant striving for academic excellence.
Montevideo and Oxford alumni, he made all facets of that experience possible for you.
Culturally inquisitive students, his dedication to achieving ethnic diversity on campus has helped provide you with first-hand experience interacting with peoples from rich and beautiful cultures from across the globe.
Students who have an admirable professor they consider a role model and friend, he was a major contributor in hiring that individual.
Dr. Foy Mills, chair of agricultural and environmental sciences and professor of agribusiness, mirrored Lytle’s comments of excellence and said VanRheenen’s dedication to service on and off-campus helped build a foundation for the university.
“We all stand on the shoulders of others. There were foundations before Dr. VanRheenen, and he has continued to build on those,” Mills said. “He’s taken us to a new level of quality.”
It still is easy for students to get lost in faculty achievements as they are not directly related to the paper due Monday at 8 a.m., the roommate issues or any other thought occupying students’ minds.
However, Mills said he believes the quality of the faculty, individuals who have direct interaction with students, is the result of VanRheenen. This bridges the gap between students’ recognition and appreciation of VanRheenen’s dedication and his impact on each and every one of them. It is felt in the classroom every day.