Compiled by Macy Santicola, Advertising Manager
Dr. Jeremy Larance is an English professor and has been with West Liberty since 2005. This year, Larance was named Assistant Provost for Innovation and Strategic Planning, and has already begun his duties under the new title.
Q: What does the Assistant Provost for Innovation and Strategic Planning do?
A: You can kind of break it up into its three parts. I will be assisting the provost on initiatives or projects he would like me to help with or head up. As far as the academic innovation goes, I will be working with existing programs and departments to help develop new programs, maybe new degree programs, new certificate programs, new minors, and looking into changing or adapting existing programs. This first year, for example, I’m leading up a team that’s going to be looking at the first year. We’re calling it the momentum year. We are trying to figure out ways we can help students get through that first year in a way that was more conducive to completing their college degree. We’ll be focusing on things like math, composition, also getting them into the right classes for their individual programs and degrees. The strategic planning is more university wide, specifically one project is the university’s master plan. This is a strategy that the university puts together to guide us for the next five years. This will be largely faculty and staff driven, and I will be primarily facilitating that. I will be working with faculty and staff as we develop what our goals are for the university.
Q: What lead you to taking this position?
A: My background is in English, and I was chair of the Department of Humanities for about five years. I was really getting excited and motivated to more things in innovation and improving programs university wide. So when this came up I was very excited to take that same background but apply it to other programs: working with math, working with the sciences, and continuing to work with the humanities as well. I was doing a lot of work especially on our composition program, working on things like the momentum year initiative, but now in my new role I can do those things university wide.
Q: How do you feel taking on multiple roles on campus?
A: I will still be contributing to the English department, and I’m going to have them use me where they need me. The bulk of my responsibilities now are administrative. I miss the classroom but at the same time I’m really excited about the possibilities. I still get to teach one class which is a nice medium. I’m not completely out of the classroom and not overwhelmed by the classes. I think it’s important to stay involved teaching because it helps me get a better idea what’s going on in the classroom. You still stay connected to that aspect of the job. I’m still in the early phases learning how to balance that, balance the time and responsibilities.
Q: Is there anything specific you hope to accomplish this year?
A: The first is to develop over the course of the year the what will become our strategic plan. After this academic year, I will be largely responsible for putting that together in a single document. That’s one major project I have.
Q: What are you most excited about?
A: The thing I’m most excited about is the momentum year initiative because I’ve already seen how much of a direct result these types of initiatives have. For example, we’ve already doubled our pass rates in remedial composition over the last five years which is amazing. It’s very hard to double something in academia. I’m looking forward to coming up with initiatives through that group that we can continue that success and also build on it.
Photo Credit: Macy Santicola