From Nov. 30 to Dec. 10, the five finalists of IU’s Provost and Executive Vice President position each participated in town halls at the Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union and on Zoom. The candidates fielded questions from IU students, faculty and staff and explained their priorities and visions for the university.
Amy Dittmar, Nov. 30
Dittmar currently serves as the Vice Provost for Academic and Budgetary Affairs at the University of Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance and business economics from IU-Bloomington in 1992. Dittmar returned to IU in 1999 to serve as an assistant professor for four years in the finance department.
One of Dittmar’s key responsibilities at Michigan is the budget, which is nearly $2.3 billion, she said.
“It's a large amount of money,” she said. “I work closely with the board of regents, which would be your board of trustees. I am the one that works with them to build the budget.”
At Michigan, she said she advocated for policies to protect lower-income employees when there are hiring freezes implemented.
“If there are less funds available, they should go to the lowest paid,” she said. “We know that there's an incredibly huge wealth and income gap.”
Janet Woodruff-Borden, Dec. 6
Woodruff-Borden has served as the Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Oregon since November 2019. Before, she has been the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Oregon and Associate Dean of Graduate Education for the University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences.
She graduated magna cum laude with honors in Psychology from Wake Forest University in December 1982. She subsequently obtained a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Virginia Tech in May 1985 and Aug. 1988 respectively.
“The reason we exist is that we have a responsibility towards the next generation of thought leaders, of scholars, of leaders of our future.” Woodruff-Borden said. “That mentorship allows us in the very rich relationship between faculty and students to have a major impact in that space.”
Woodruff-Borden fielded questions from audience members ranging among topics such as the lack of student bonding between schools, academic freedom regarding political ideological views, as well as diversity and equity. She also spent a good portion of the town hall explaining that she believes a university faculty’s role is to educate students.
“That is the reason institutions exist and their success should be at the forefront of all of our decisions,” Woodruff-Borden said.
John Applegate, Dec. 7
Applegate was appointed Interim Provost by former IU president Michael McRobbie on July 1, 2021, after the former Provost, Laren Robel, returned to a faculty position. He also serves as Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs. Applegate graduated from Harvard Law School in 1981. He previously taught at the University of Cincinnati, Vanderbilt University and the IU Maurer School of Law.
As Provost, Applegate said his first priority for student experience would be to create a place where every student can find something to excel at. He also said he would like every student to leave IU with a faculty member who can write a personal letter of recommendation for them.
“This is only meaningful if it is true for everyone,” Applegate said. “People should have those kinds of connections.”
Applegate did not offer specifics when asked about the issue of pay for graduate students and other student workers. He said he wants them to be equal or higher to what other universities are offering.
“We want to be offering competitive salaries for all employees,” he said.
Rahul Shrivastav, Dec. 8
Rahul Shrivastav currently serves as Vice President for Instruction at the University of Georgia. After earning his doctorate degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences at IU-Bloomington in 2001, Shrivastav worked as an assistant professor at the University of Florida and a professor at Michigan State University.
Shrivastav oversees the University of Georgia’s academic affairs, curriculum and undergraduate admissions among other areas. Shrivastav said he values liberal arts education.
“My philosophy is that we need a very strong liberal arts education combined with a very strong, deep knowledge in whatever discipline a student chooses to go after,” Shrivastav said. “I think a strong liberal arts basis is critical as we move into the workforce and the society of tomorrow.”
Shrivastav said he’d prioritize IU’s investment in proactive, cutting-edge programs as provost.
“What we need to think about is what are a handful of areas that will define society in 30 to 40 years, and maybe we need to strategically invest in those areas today,” he said. “I or any other Provost will have to balance the problems of today without losing sight of what needs to happen in the coming years.”
Grant Hayes, Dec. 10
Grant Hayes currently serves as the Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at East Carolina University, a position he has held since 2019. Before this he served as Dean of the College of Education for the university.
Hayes said that he would be both a compassionate and transparent provost and adopt a people-first approach. He said he believes in the transformative power of education for students, something he learned as a first-generation student from a small, rural town in South Carolina.
“I really think students’ success should be at the core of every institution's mission,” Hayes said.
Hayes has a doctorate degree in counselor education. He is a licensed counselor and has many publications centered on counseling education.
“I think going back to my transparency, being open to dialogue, to conversations, no matter how challenging, they know that I'm going to listen, and not only listen, but they are going to walk away knowing that they have been heard,” Hayes said.
Hayes said he would prioritize supporting research at IU as provost.