Story by Bridget Gibley, Culture Editor
Photo courtesy Anna Schlutt
On March 19, Dr. Kevin Quinn, President of Aquinas College, announced Dr. Steve Germic as Aquinas’ new provost and dean of faculty. The provost is the chief academic officer of the college and reports directly to the president. Dr. Germic will step into this position this summer.
This decision comes after a month-long search following last summer’s departure of the previous provost, Dr. Stephen Barrows. During the search, which was facilitated by the consulting firm Academic Search, Heather Kesselring-Quakenbush served as interim provost. In Dr. Quinn’s notice to Aquinas faculty, staff, and students, he thanked Kesselring-Quakenbush for “rising up to this monumental challenge, for leading our faculty and students through a shift to distance learning, and being a true leader on this campus.”
Dr. Kyle Hull, who chaired the search committee for the new provost, added that Kesselring-Quakenbush “has faced unprecedented challenges during her time as Interim-Provost and has dealt with them admirably.”
The search committee was composed of both elected and presidentially appointed members. Hull noted that the committee was mainly faculty, given that the provost is the chief academic officer of the college. Members included: Dr. Daniel Brooks, Dr. Nkechy Ezeh, Robert Gilmore, Dr. Tim Henshaw, Sr. Justine Kane, Dr. Bethany Kilcrease, Chris LaPorte, Maria Maguire, Dr. Molly Patterson, Sharon Smith, Lisa VanDeWeert, Dr. Daniel Wagner, and Matt Wey.
The search prospectus detailed specific priorities for the next Provost, such as creating an academic plan that will support the College’s strategic vision as well as the needs of students, pursuing improvement around organizational effectiveness, and leading from within rather than from above.
The search process began in October, with applications due in early December. Later in December, semi-finalists for the position were selected. In early January, the search committee conducted video conference interviews and created a short list of candidates. The individuals on the short list were invited to face-to-face interviews in downtown Grand Rapids, and the finalists were invited to on-campus interviews in February.
Dr. Steve Germic comes to Aquinas from Billings, Montana, where he was the provost and academic vice president at Rocky Mountain College. He is a specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and has also served in positions at American University in Dubai, American University in Cairo, James Madison University, Michigan State University and Wayne State University.
Dr. Hull commented that Dr. Germic is an established scholar with leadership capabilities. Hull said, “[T]he new provost has a history of effective leadership in the role of a provost, a clear understanding of the higher-education landscape, is familiar with the dynamics, opportunities for growth, and challenges small schools face, and is a staunch defender of the liberal arts.”
Dr. Daniel Brooks, member of the search committee and faculty advisor for The Saint, added that Dr. Germic was “clearly the preferred candidate for the search committee and for those in the campus community who attended finalist sessions and responded to surveys.”
Dr. Brooks also commented that “It’s clear [Germic is] incredibly intelligent and very thoughtful. And while he speaks to the point and is serious about his work in higher ed[ucation], he’s also very personable in a quiet way.”
Aquinas College will welcome Dr. Steve Germic as Provost on July 1, 2020.