Dr. Kirk Weller has been selected to serve as Interim Associate Provost of Academic Operations for the 2014-15 school year.
It was announced in April that former provost Fritz Erickson was leaving Ferris to become president of Northern Michigan University. Associate Provost Paul Blake was appointed to replace him, consequently creating an opening for his position as well, which is how Weller came into this position.
Weller has been head of FSU’s Math Department since 2008 and will continue to serve “double duty” both there and in the Provost’s Office. The Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office will be taking over most of his department head duties, though he will still have some responsibilities including scheduling, general education projects and handling adjunct faculty. Weller has also served on the Achievement Gaps Taskforce (a group that looks for ways to help students who aren’t achieving highly, especially minority and low-income students who may not have a strong support system) and the College of Arts and Sciences Planning committee.
For students who don’t know, the Provost’s Office is essentially the central administrative office on campus. It is above all deans’ offices and holds all of Ferris’s academic programs together. Weller’s position specifically will deal with such matters as hiring, budgets, curriculum, student issues and/or complaints, scheduling and registration. “It sort of handles operations on a global level,” said Weller, “The further up you are in an administrative position, the less direct involvement with students, [but] the impact on students is greater.” Weller likened this to flying an airplane; the higher you go, the fewer details you can make out, but the more you can see beneath you.
Weller’s main focus during his year in the Provost’s Office will be working on and implementing a new general education program. Future general education class requirements may be organized differently, “not expanding so much as updating for a new time period.”
Weller’s colleagues are optimistic about the work he will do. “I am excited to see an additional person join this office who is very focused on making the university a better place and being attentive to assuring that students are well served,” said Roberta Teahen, Associate Provost of Accreditation, Assessment, Compliance and Evaluation. “He is willing to ask hard questions and think creatively about how we might best do our work. I know that he is initially focused on working with the university to implement the new general education plans and this is an incredibly important undertaking. His understanding of the Ferris communities and the diversity of our students will be a great asset to all of us.” “I have worked with Kirk Weller on numerous projects during the last five years and know him to be a dedicated educator who is truly interested in student learning,” said Bill Potter, Associate Provost of Retention and Student Success. “I look forward to continuing to work together as he begins his new role.”