ACU’s new provost has only been in office for a few months, but has revived dead day, facilitated searches for three permanent deans and created plans for supporting the campus following budget cuts.
Dr. Robert Rhodes was named provost in early April and began serving in the position July 1.
After reviewing student and faculty responses to the removal of dead day last semester, Rhodes decided to set the finals week schedule back to the previous format, which included dead day.
Rhodes said some more short-term goals involve finding support following the budget cuts and reevaluating ACU’s mission.
“Over the last few years ACU has gone through some budget reductions, and we’re taking a look at what areas faculty and staff do need support in. We need to find what resources we have to support faculty’s scholarly activity, teaching and service,” Rhodes said. “Another part of our goal is to spend time strategically planning, including revisiting ACU’s core vision and how to advance academically to support our core mission, whether that’s in academics, athletics or other areas in the university.”
Rhodes helped to coordinate the creation of three search committees to find permanent deans in the College of Biblical Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Services. Dr. Ken Cukrowski was the vice provost but is serving as interim dean of the CBS. Dr. Susan Lewis is filling his old position on an interim basis.
Rhodes earned a Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Northern Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oklahoma Christian University. He was associate dean for students and programs at New Mexico State University before agreeing to come to ACU as the university’s chief academic officer.
Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, said Rhodes shares the university’s mission, an essential characteristic of the provost.
“The president and provost must have a common vision and mutual trust,” Schubert said. “I am very impressed with Dr. Rhodes.”
Rhodes said the change has taken some time to adjust to ACU’s differences from NMSU, but he’s pleased with the transition.
“Whenever you come to a new campus you’re never quite sure what to expect until you’re actually here,” he said. “Everyone I’ve worked with has been welcoming and engaging. ACU has a more personal nature and I like that is designed with a kingdom approach and greater spirituality.”