Q & A with Timothy Chandler
Timothy Chandler, the Senior Associate Provost of Kent State University, was announced last week as the new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs of Towson
The Towerlight talked to Chandler about what he expects when he takes office Jan. 14, after being at Kent State for 20 years.
What was your initial reaction when you found out that you received the position of provost?
I was delighted at the prospect. Towson is a place that is dynamic, growing, vibrant and just the kind of place that I would love to be involved with. You all also have a new and very energetic president with great ideas and a fine group of academic administrators. What more could one want out of an institution?
As part of the interview process, you came here for an interview, what was your reaction as you toured campus?
There was a contrast in typography with Kent State. It’s flat with very few undulations, and Towson’s campus is almost one giant hill. There are also wonderful new buildings and lovely old buildings, especially Stephens and the College of Liberal Arts, so there is a wide range of buildings on campus. I also recognize how well kept the campus was, and it struck me as just a very nice place to be.
What do you hope to do once you take office in January?
I like the direction that the University is going right now, I wouldn’t come if I didn’t have ideas in common with the University. So I mainly want to drive the agenda that the institution has. That agenda is clearly laid out in the strategic plan, and my task is to drive that agenda to make sure the institution continues to grow what it has selected for itself. I just want to serve the institution as best as I can.
What about the strategic plan has stuck out to you?
Your president wants to strive for excellence. She’s looking at an institution that has a strong Liberal Arts basis that is good for an institute for higher education. Innovation in teaching preparation and leadership is also very important to Towson. As a teacher from way back when, it is an area I will look at with great interest. The president has talked about trying to continue experiential learning, especially in internships. That’s something very important that I have been promoting here, and want to promote there. I also want to look into extending some of Towson’s graduate offerings. There is room for looking at possibilities of looking at graduate programs. Towson is already a very strong undergraduate institution, but there is room to find areas of growth in graduate areas that will serve the needs of the workforce and the greater Baltimore area, Maryland and even beyond.
During your interview, you mentioned a GPS program that allowed students at Kent State to track their academic progress and see their expected date of graduation, is that something you’re interested in bringing to Towson?
The GPS is something that is worth looking at. It’s a way to help students navigate the system and keep them on track. It may not be necessary. At Kent State, it has proven helpful and it could work, but it depends upon the needs of the University and could have some real values that I would share with Towson.
You’ve been at Kent State for 20 years now, so why move to a different school?
My wife and I have reached points in our lives and careers that we are ready for new challenges. Our children have set off in the world on their own careers. Our daughter is in Boston, and our son is in Columbus, so we wanted to look for some alternatives. The timing was good from that point of view.
You’ve made a number of references to President Loeschke, and one of the things a lot of students like about her is that she is visible on campus, is this something you’d be interested in as well?
Absolutely. I like to spend time with students and I like to be with students because I want to know what students are thinking about, what they are worrying about. You can’t find that out by sitting in an office and looking online.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that you’d want students to know about you?
It’s just my personal belief that the key to a successful University lies with dedicated faculty and dedicated and high-supported students. Real work at a University is done through scholarship and real-world experience, and those are all things I find stimulating.