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April 16, 2012
By John Trent
The second of three finalists for the presidency of the University of Nevada, Reno, participated in several meetings and forums on Monday.
Steven Angle, provost at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, took part in eight different gatherings at various locations on campus, including a forum for administrative and academic faculty in the Joe Crowley Student Union's theater.
Angle told those gathered, as well as a statewide webcast audience, that during his visit to the University, he was impressed by the institution's many new buildings, including the Joe Crowley Student Union and the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center.
"But it's nothing without committed, passionate people," Angle said, complimenting the faculty, staff and students of the institution for their resiliency in the face of four years of state-mandated budget reductions and the loss of President Milton Glick, who passed away a year ago. "You've been through some pain ... (And) everything's doing splendid. The pain isn't as apparent. You've done a splendid job."
Before taking questions from the audience, Angle said that he believed that "it's so important that as an administration we connect with the day-to-day business of what we do as an institution." He noted that Wright State's profile included about 20,000 students, a community-based medical school, plus emphasis in doctoral programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) areas.
He said that his experience as dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and director of the Agricultural and Natural Resources program at UC-Riverside from 2001-2007 gave him good insight into "the land-grant passion that all of you have."
"I feel I have some experience that relates to some of the issues you have," he said, adding that he understood that the country's economic downturn has motivated state legislatures to demand more jobs creation in return for state funding for higher education. "That's something we have to adopt for and work with," he said of the increased demands for creating a more educated workforce. "And, we have an advantage there."
When asked about success measures he uses, Angle replied that he has several. He cited graduation rates, access, and success rates for special certifications that certain student cohorts undergo in areas such as nursing and teaching.
"We need to look at how engaged students are outside as well inside the classroom," he added, noting that the number of activities, competitions and research that students publish can often go a long ways in defining if an institution has provided an engaging, enjoyable environment for students.
Angle recalled an experience of his own, where he received a message from a former student who wasn't aware that Angle had moved to Dayton, Ohio, to become provost at Wright State. The student made a special trip to see Angle once she learned he was in Dayton.
"I know that this goes on all the time with all of you," he said. "How do we get those stories from our students that say, 'This is a great institution and it cares about people."
On Tuesday, the third finalist, Rachel Toni Algaze Croson, division director of the Division of Social and Economic Sciences with the National Science Foundation's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, will visit campus.
Following the campus visits of the three finalists, the following search-related meetings will be held: